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News » Mariners-Braves Preview 2008-06-21

Mariners-Braves Preview 2008-06-21

Mariners-Braves Preview 2008-06-21
The Jim Riggleman era in Seattle got off to a strong start on Friday.

The Mariners will look to build on their first win under their new manager on Saturday when they continue a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Riggleman took over as Seattle's manager for John McLaren, who was fired on Thursday. Riggleman managed his first game since Oct. 3, 1999 - the end of a five-year run with the Chicago Cubs - on Friday, and the Mariners (26-47) responded with their best offensive game of the season, a 10-2 win.

"It's still a night where I feel for John," said Riggleman, who was promoted from bench coach to manager. "I feel like we did a lot of things that John talked about. We had good at-bats, we had patience, all the things that John had been preaching all the time."

The Mariners matched their season high with 15 hits, including a season-high eight doubles, against Atlanta (36-39). They scored five runs in the eighth, matching their season high for an inning.

However, performances like that have been few and far between for Seattle, which owns the worst record in the majors and is on pace to become the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose 100 games.

"We need to change the way we've been thinking and change the way we were doing things," said leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki, who was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. "It was important for the manager and for the team to build a different atmosphere."

The Braves didn't have nearly as good a night. Chipper Jones, who leads the majors with a .390 batting average, left the game after aggravating his strained right quadriceps and said he expects to miss at least two games.

"I'm going to be down for a couple (games)," Jones said. "It's pretty bad. I missed a couple last time and it's worse now."

Shortstop Yunel Escobar also left the game in the ninth with a strained right hip flexor and is listed as day to day.

Atlanta has enjoyed one of baseball's best home records for most of the year, but has lost a season-high four straight at Turner Field.

Now, the Braves are hoping that Jair Jurrjens (7-3, 3.43 ERA) can help them bounce back.

Jurrjens is coming off the longest start of career, a 7-1 win in Colorado on Monday in which he threw 7 2-3 scoreless innings. The right-hander, who ranks first among NL rookies in wins, had missed his previous start after missing a step in the Wrigley Field dugout and rolling an ankle.

The extra rest, however, gave a lingering blister on his thumb more time to heal.

"I could definitely tell things weren't right (because of the blister)," catcher Brian McCann said. "But he didn't want to miss a start. He battled every time out there when he had that. I think that ankle injury was probably the best thing to happen to him."

Jurrjens has won his last two starts and is 3-0 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts since his last loss on May 12 in Pittsburgh. He has never faced the Mariners, who will hand the ball to Jarrod Washburn (2-7, 5.83).

Washburn gave up two runs in six innings Sunday, but didn't get a decision in Seattle's 6-2 loss to Washington. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA in seven games - six starts - since his last win May 5 against Texas, but has left three of his last four with a lead that the bullpen blew.

He has never faced the Braves.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 21, 2008

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