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Dickey hit hard in Mariners loss

Dickey hit hard in Mariners loss

SEATTLE -- It seems to be the prevailing theme in Seattle these days. An effective trend or play that happens one day rarely resurfaces for an encore the next. And it's keeping the struggling Mariners from putting together anything resembling the winning streak they so desperately need.

On Tuesday, they got enough timely hits to score a few runs and rode a successful, innings-eating start that gave the bullpen an opportunity to slam the door and secure a 5-4 win.

Wednesday? The starting pitcher was gone in the fourth. The offense managed just three runs despite 13 hits, composed of 12 singles and one double.
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The strength of the win one day became the very deficiencies contributing to a loss the following night, as the Mariners dropped the series finale, and the series, to the Marlins, 8-3, on Wednesday in front of 24,163 at Safeco Field.

"This is kind of just the opposite of what we were talking about last night," manager John McLaren said. "[Mariners starter R.A.] Dickey had a tough time with his release point, pitched out of a couple jams, but it finally caught up to him. We had a lot of hits, but we just couldn't get some big innings together."

The nature of Wednesday's starting pitcher trouble is a small trend at this point, as Dickey's success coming out of the bullpen -- especially in extremely long relief situations -- has not transferred over when he takes the mound to start the game. Dickey joined the rotation last Friday against the Nationals, and in his two starts he has gone just a combined five and a third innings and given up 12 earned runs.

"I'm not sure if it's the air, the way the wind's blowing, I don't know," McLaren said, adding that Dickey will get another start.

The only procedural difference concerning Dickey's effectiveness is the starting role, and he mentioned the nature of the position after Wednesday's game.

"I think the worst job in baseball is a starter after he's had a bad start," Dickey said. "And the best job is a starter after he's had a great start. So I've had a couple rough ones here, and I've spent some time really chewing on that and it stinks. It really does. But it's part of the job, and I'll find a way to get better, and I'll find a way to have success with it."

Dickey started having trouble right from the beginning, as two hits in the first inning led to a run. A shaky second frame was followed by a damaging third. After Jorge Cantu led off with a double, Mike Jacobs skied the first pitch he saw into the right-field stands to give Florida a 3-1 lead. After a fourth-inning walk by Dickey to put two runners on with two outs, McLaren brought in Ryan Rowland-Smith, who promptly gave up a run-scoring single and two walks to force in another run as the Marlins built a 5-1 lead.

"I had a good knuckleball," Dickey said. "I just didn't have a very good release point with it. It was moving good. I just couldn't keep it in the strike zone enough, where they really had to commit to swinging at it all the time."

A Dan Uggla two-run homer in the sixth effectively put the game away at 7-2.

Dickey wasn't getting much support from the offense. Seattle has now scored just eight runs in the past two games despite getting 26 hits. The main issues have been a lack of timely hitting and power, as the hit breakdown was 22 singles and four doubles.

For all those base hits, the Mariners just can't seem to put together the big innings that could get them some wins.

"I'd like to have some power with some guys on base," McLaren said. "We love the three-run homer, believe me."

In the fourth, Seattle had runners at first and second with no outs, but Richie Sexson hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Then in the sixth it was two on with one out, but Sexson struck out and Jeremy Reed popped up.

"The way I look at it is just grind it out, and keep battling, and turn things around," said Raul Ibanez, who had two hits. "We're swinging the bats better as a club, and hopefully there's a lot more of that coming."

Recently promoted catcher Jeff Clement went 0-for-2 with two walks in his return to the Major Leagues.

The byproduct of Seattle's sustained inconsistency in key areas is its current plight in the standings at 25-47. It has not won back-to-back games since May 27-28.

With a nine-game Interleague road trip looming ahead, Ibanez thought that perhaps leaving Seattle and the turmoil surrounding general manager Bill Bavasi's dismissal could help in a way. But he also pointed out that the goal remains the same.

"The main objective is to win ballgames and try and do that somehow, and it's not just going to happen," Ibanez said. "We've got to make it happen."

Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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