Errors are as much a part of the game as hits and runs, but a miscue that prolongs an inning and leads to a loss is the most difficult to overlook. Betancourt knows the feeling all too well after what happened to him.Betancourt's 15th error of the season allowed Mike Fontenot to come to bat in the fifth inning and deliver a two-run single to right field, snapping a 1-1 deadlock. It was Betancourt's seventh throwing error of the season, and with more than half the season remaining, he already has just five fewer errors than all of last season.
Coming into the middle game of the three-game series, the Mariners had been on a run-scoring binge unlike any during the past three seasons. During a 19-game stretch that started on May 24, the Ichiro-led offense batted .323 as a team, hiking the club batting average from .269 to .287, and averaged 7.2 runs per game.Going back even further, the Mariners had 10 or more hits in 20 of the previous 26 games and combined to bat .316 (307-for-971), score 160 runs and pound out 81 extra-base hits. But the team had little time to sit back and savor the accomplishment. The hectic schedule the Mariners have been on the past six weeks -- two days off since May 1 -- and playing long games against the Indians and Cubs on back-to-back nights, prompted hitting coach Jeff Pentland to suggest that Wednesday night would be a good time to skip pregame batting practice. Hargrove agreed, and the hitters that wanted to take some swings did so in the batting cage. Seattle threatened to score the game's first run in the first inning, when Ichiro singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third on a wild pitch. He bolted for home on a grounder hit to third base with one out but was thrown out, and the Mariners came away empty. But the Mariners scored first anyway, when Sexson led off the second inning with his team-leading 10th home run, a shot to left-center. The Cubs tied it in the third on a one-out walk, single to left field and ensuing error by Raul Ibanez, who slipped and fell just as he was throwing the ball to third base trying to get fleet-footed Felix Pie. Seattle played its infield back, willing to get an out for a run, and Cliff Floyd obliged with a grounder to second base. Batista pitched a Batista-like game. He allowed numerous baserunners, but more often than not pitched out of trouble. "After the first couple of innings, Marshall seemed to settle down," Hargrove said. "He pitched well, but not any better than our guy."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.