Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The sun refused to go down on Julian Tavarez, but that's only because at this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, the sun tends to linger deep into the evening.

The sun could have shone until midnight and it still would have looked like darkness to Julio Lugo, who with his pen flashlight of a bat sees no end to what is becoming an epic slump.

And when night looks like day and time is passing so slowly that you can't tell the difference anymore, then maybe it's best to start thinking about coming home. That sentiment surely occurred to at least some of those wearing "Boston" on the front of their jerseys, after they fell, 9-4, to the Mariners, their opponent for the last three games of this three-city, nine-game, 10-day, 7,611-mile excursion.

When night finally did fall, it did so heavily on the head of Mike Timlin, the 41-year-old reliever who was flattened by the shards of a broken bat that he deflected with his glove in the seventh inning. Timlin dusted himself off, then promptly gave up home runs on his next two pitches, to Kenji Johjima and Adrian Beltre.

This was the sixth straight time the Sox have lost at Safeco Field, their longest road losing streak in Seattle, even including the little-mourned days of the Kingdome.

The game ended with Mike Lowell flipping his bat after being called out on strikes by plate umpire Jim Reynolds, the player and arbiter exchanging a few words before Reynolds pointed at Lowell, which may mean a fine is forthcoming.

Tavarez, who raised suspicions that he may have aggravated a balky hamstring that has bothered him the last couple of weeks, was unable to last through a fifth inning he made more problematic with a wild throw on Yuniesky Betancourt's sacrifice bunt.

"Lowell was calling him off it all the way," manager Terry Francona said. "He grabbed at it, and I think he got it with a full hand. That was a tough play for him right there."

Tavarez said he heard Lowell, but decided he had a better chance to make the play.

Tavarez, who had gone unbeaten in his previous seven starts, was charged with six runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since he went four against the Rangers in his first start, April 7 in Texas.

"I didn't do anything different today," Tavarez said. "I just got behind a little behind in the count. I don't get the ground ball, double play. I don't feel bad about today. I just didn't get any breaks."

Kyle Snyder, who inherited a bases-loaded mess from Tavarez, did not lighten his load, walking in two runs as the Mariners sent 11 men to the plate and scored five times in the inning, seizing a 6-2 lead in a game in which they trailed, 2-1.

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