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That may work as an overall template, but it's not working for teams playing the Mariners.
After Miguel Batista (2 2/3 innings) and Jason Vargas (2 1/3 innings) threw Sunday against Oakland, Sean White threw two innings Monday against Texas. All told, the Mariners have had pitchers throw two or more innings of relief 17 times in 26 games.
And far from being a weak link, the middle and long relievers have been extremely effective. In those games, relievers have gone 3-0 with a 1.51 ERA (six earned runs in 36 2/3 innings).
By contrast, in short relief (less than two innings), the Mariners have a much more mortal 4.05 ERA (21 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings).
RANGERS 6, MARINERS 5: Texas DH Hank Blalock brought RHP Felix Hernandez's streak of consecutive scoreless innings to an end at 22 with an RBI double in the fourth inning, and the Rangers went on to score six times off the previously undefeated Hernandez.
Thanks to Blalock and a two-run homer from 3B Michael Young, the Rangers took a 4-0 lead on Hernandez before a solo homer by 1B Russell Branyan and a three-run shot by CF Franklin Gutierrez off Texas ace Kevin Millwood got the Mariners even in the fifth.
But Hernandez, who had been battling the flu, allowed a two-run homer by Texas 1B Chris Davis, and that stood up for the game-winner.
Hernandez, who had only allowed nine runs all year, gave up six runs in six innings, including his second (Blalock) and third (Davis) homers of the season.