Ibanez lifts Mariners to 2-1 win over Blue Jays
Raul Ibanez singled home the winning run in the ninth inning, Felix Hernandez worked eight strong innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Wednesday.
Seattle improved to 10-23 away from home and won a three-game road series for the first time since taking two of three at Tampa Bay, April 8-10. Seattle also swept a two-game series in Oakland, April 16-17.
The Mariners mounted the winning rally against Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan (1-3). Ichiro Suzuki drew a one out walk and stole second and third while Willie Bloomquist struck out. Miguel Cairo walked and took second on defensive indifference before Ibanez lined an RBI single to right, advancing to second as the throw came went to the plate.
An irate Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out after the play and both he and Ryan were ejected for arguing the call with home plate umpire Andy Fletcher. The Blue Jays have lost eight of their past 11.
Hernandez (5-5) gave up one run and four hits in eight innings to win his third straight start. He walked one and struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 2.91.
Seattle closer J.J. Putz, who missed 18 games with sore ribs earlier this season, had to be replaced by Brandon Morrow after walking Joe Inglett to begin the ninth.
Morrow struck out Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs and got Lyle Overbay on a deep fly to the wall in left to earn his first career save.
This one figured to be a low-scoring affair. Toronto right-hander Shaun Marcum came in tied with Cleveland's Cliff Lee for the American League ERA lead (2.52), while Hernandez entered tied for fourth with Toronto's Roy Halladay (3.07).
Marcum was especially sharp early, striking out seven of the first 11 batters he faced. He finished with nine strikeouts and allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.43.
Hernandez looked comfortable through the first three innings, but was touched for a run in the fourth. Inglett led off with a double down the first base line and went to third when right fielder Jeremy Reed mishandled the ball. Inglett scored one out later on Stairs' RBI grounder.
A single by David Eckstein and another double from Inglett gave the Blue Jays runners at second and third with one out in the sixth, but Hernandez struck out Wells and got Stairs to ground out.
Seattle survived a botched sacrifice to tie it in the seventh. Reed and Richie Sexson began the inning with singles, but Kenji Johjima popped his bunt attempt to catcher Curtis Thigpen, who doubled Reed off second base. Yuniesky Betancourt took Reed off the hook with an RBI triple to right.
Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs walked the bases loaded in the eighth, but Johjima flied out to end the inning.
Notes:@ Toronto OF Alex Rios, who played Tuesday despite soreness in his back and groin, got the day off, as did 3B Scott Rolen. ... Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre was held out of the starting lineup but came on as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... Toronto 2B Aaron Hill (concussion) has been symptom-free for the past three days. Hill, who was injured in a collision May 29 at Oakland, must be symptom-free for seven straight days before he can return.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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