"Some guys have a way of [getting into trouble]," manager Mike Hargrove said. "Miguel has been around, pitched in a variety of roles, and knows how to get out of jams. He doesn't panic and sticks to his game plan."In 14 appearances this season -- 13 starts -- the 36-year-old has surrendered 96 hits and 30 walks in 77 2/3 innings, which is nearly two runners per inning, and opposing hitters are batting .302 against him. Despite all that, he leads the staff in wins with seven. Thanks a lot: Ichiro must be wondering why they call Wrigley Field "The Friendly Confines." He tried to give fans sitting below the huge scoreboard in center field a souvenir by throwing the ball he caught for the third out of the sixth inning Tuesday night. The fan that got the ball threw it back onto the field. When asked to compare fans at Wrigley and those in Yankee Stadium, Hargrove said, "The fans are a little closer here and they were pretty, uh, vicious, the first night." Not a hit with Grover: The Mariners are entering the final stages of the Interleague Play session of the season when they play in National League cities, and that's just fine with Hargrove. "The ugliest thing in sports is watching a pitcher hit," he said. "Unless it would be watching Wilt Chamberlain shoot free throws. Even pitchers who are supposed to be good hitters don't look good." Hargrove said he refuses to even go out onto the field and watch his own pitchers take batting practice while getting ready for the Interleague games played without the use of the designated-hitter rule. "It's not a real nice thing to see," he said. Nothing to worry about: Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt has made seven throwing errors this season, but Hargrove says he's not worried.
"The more experience he gets, the better he'll get, and he makes that play well anyway," Hargrove said of Betancourt's errant throw Wednesday night that prolonged the fifth inning and led to two unearned runs in a 3-2 Seattle loss. "He threw off the wrong leg and didn't follow through the way he should have. But on 99 percent of those plays, he does really well."This 'n that: Hargrove finds it interesting that for the first three weeks of the season he could not use closer J.J. Putz in a save situation, and now the right-hander is being used several times a week to protect leads. "We were getting him into games just to get him work." Not anymore.
Putz has moved near the top of the American League in saves with 19, and Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez is the only closer with more saves (20). Hargrove said he is OK with using Putz three days in a row, but would be reluctant to call on his game-ender four straight days. ... The Mariners set a club record by starting this road trip with five consecutive last at-bat victories. It also is the most in the Majors since the Blue Jays won five straight games in their final at-bat on May 29-June 2, 1992. The Mariners are now 10-8 in one-run games this season. ... The Mariners have released third baseman Sean Burroughs from his Minor League contract with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Burroughs, who missed all of Spring Training with a shoulder injury, was 2-for-12 with no home runs or RBIs for the Rainiers.
Did you know? The Mariners have won seven games this season in their last at-bat, but still have no walk-off wins. All seven last at-bat wins have come on the road.On deck: The Mariners' four-city, 10-game road trip continues in Houston on Friday night when they open a three-game Interleague series against the Astros. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (3-3, 4.41) opposes Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (3-6, 4.52) in the opener at Minute Maid Park.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.