06/21/08 12:01 AM ET
Happy Mariners best unlucky Braves
Campillo, bullpen implode late; Jones and Escobar injured
By Ryan Lavner / MLB.com
They were taking powerful cuts in the cage, they were carefree in tossing the ball around the outfield and they were seemingly oblivious to the fact that the grounds crew hadn't even finished watering the infield.
Whether they were happy to be out of Seattle or happy to be void of distraction, the Mariners spent all of Friday littering the Braves' ballpark with hits.
"Anytime you play for a new manager, you want to play hard, with a lot of intensity, and they did," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "They hit some hard balls tonight."
The Mariners, who fired both their general manager and manager in the past week, provided more than enough offense for their interim manager Jim Riggleman, who was able to enjoy his first win since 1999 with a comfortable lead. They scored nine of their 10 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, against a trio of pitchers -- Jorge Campillo, Jeff Bennett and Will Ohman -- who are normally reliable.
The Braves were coming off a 4-6 road trip, their best of the season, and had aspirations of sweeping the Mariners, who entered the three-game Interleague set with the worst record in the Majors, 25-47.
But those desires quickly unraveled when Campillo, making his first start against his former club, pitched one batter too long, and allowed an RBI double to pinch-hitter Jeremy Reed that gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead.
It only got worse from there.
Bennett came on in relief and allowed back-to-back singles, followed by a sacrifice fly that put the Braves in a 4-1 hole. With the bases loaded in the eighth, Jose Lopez hit a bases-clearing double off Ohman that put the game out of reach and elicited a chorus of boos from the 40,268 fans in attendance.
"It's the worst when you come into the clubhouse after giving up somebody else's runs," said Bennett, who allowed two of Campillo's inherited runners to score.
Ohman allowed five runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning, his worst outing of the season.
And to make matters worse, both Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar left the game with separate injuries.
Jones, whose average dipped to .390, reaggravated his strained right quadriceps while attempting to score from second base in fourth inning. He expects to miss at least a couple of games.
"I'm going to be down for a couple days," Jones said. "It's pretty bad."
Jones said he reinjured the quad after running home on an RBI single by Omar Infante in the fourth inning, but he also winced while swinging at an offspeed pitch in the sixth. He left after the seventh.
Escobar left the game in the eighth inning after sliding around a tag at home. He suffered a strained right hip flexor and is listed as day-to-day.
Though the Mariners began piling on runs late, the Braves were staked to a 1-0 lead in the fourth. That was when Campillo was pitching around trouble, escaping what seemed like inevitable big innings.
Infante brought back a would-be home run by Adrian Beltre in the second inning. The normally stoic Campillo slapped the palm of his glove with his right hand and grinned before letting out a deep breath. After the inning, when no runs had scored, Campilo lagged behind to thank his left fielder.
The Mariners hit five balls to the warning track off Campillo, who was coming off a complete-game performance in Anaheim.
Campillo pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits, including four doubles. He took the loss, his second of the season.
And although Campillo has certainly given the Braves a boost since transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation, he hasn't won since May 29.
"Campy pitched good," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "One run in six innings going into the seventh -- can't get too much better than that."
Allowing one run through six innings should have been enough for the Braves because Mariners starter Erik Bedard left after the third inning with back spasms. But the Braves managed just five hits over the last six innings, despite having a baserunner in every inning but one.
"We made some great plays," Cox said. "It just got crazy there, that eighth inning."
Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.