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BOS@SEA: Mariners score five runs in the first

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez won his 11th game despite giving up a pair of two-run homers to the Red Sox in the sixth inning of a 5-4 victory Saturday, but the Mariners ace said he had to overcome something even tougher than the potent Boston lineup.

With a near-capacity crowd of 41,326 swollen by a high number of Red Sox fans at Safeco Field, Hernandez's increasingly popular King's Court rooting section had to be moved on this night to the upper deck.

And the King was none too pleased.

"I could still hear them, but that was way too high," Hernandez said with a grin. "If they were in the right spot, I'd probably give up only two runs."

In truth, most everything fell into the right spots in this one for the Mariners as they snapped a five-game losing streak to the American League's top team by getting to Josh Beckett for five runs in the first inning and then holding on.

Included in the fun was a pair of first-inning home runs by Ichiro Suzuki and Casper Wells, a great throw by Ichiro to gun down Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate in the fourth inning and some high-wire relief by Jamey Wright in the eighth when David Ortiz just missed a mammoth home run that hooked foul before clanging off the Hit It Here Cafe.

Hernandez insisted that even the pitches hit for home runs to right-center in the sixth inning by Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were in the correct location.

"I was surprised because that part of the ballpark is pretty big," Hernandez said. "I made good pitches, but they hit two homers. This is baseball. It's crazy."

Craziest on this night, besides two of the AL's top pitchers giving up a pair of home runs in the same inning, was the play at the plate when Ichiro threw out Ellsbury trying to score on a sacrifice fly attempt by Pedroia in the fourth.

Mariners catcher Josh Bard got knocked flat by Ellsbury, but held on to the ball. Still, it took a reversal by the umpiring crew after Ellsbury was initially ruled safe when home-plate Mark Ripperger didn't see Bard still holding the ball in his bare hand.

"I knew the throw had to be on the money for him to get me," Ellsbury said. "With Ichiro's history, I know he has a good arm. I knew it was going to be close. Unfortunately, that would have been the tying run looking back on it now. Great play by him, great play by Bard to hold on to it."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge credited Bard both on that play as well as throwing out pinch-runner Darnell McDonald on a perfect throw in the eighth with being a difference maker in the tight win. But Bard wasn't buying.

"Ichi made a great throw," he said of the collision play at the plate. "It's my job to catch the ball and tag the guy. That's all I did."

Hernandez yielded just two infield singles through five innings but got rocked for four runs on six hits -- thanks to the two-run shots by Ellsbury and Pedroia -- in the sixth before restoring order and ultimately recording his 11th win with timely relief from Wright and Brandon League.

Hernandez gave up nine hits and four runs over his seven-inning stint and is now 11-10 with a 3.38 ERA.

"I thought he threw the ball really good," Bard said. "We spent a lot of time preparing for these guys and it's frustrating when the pitch to [Pedroia] and the pitch to Ellsbury were where we were trying to go. That's a credit to them.

"Jacoby is having one of those years. The next at-bat we threw him a 94 mph sinker off the plate, about four inches off the ground and he hits a rocket over shortstop. So obviously it's tough and there's no mistaking why that's the best team in baseball right there.

"But [Felix], you can't say enough about him. "Obviously it's been frustrating for him because we haven't scored a lot of runs. Today we did and he did a great job of holding them."

The Mariners got to Beckett (9-5, 2.40) for five runs in the first against a pitcher who had allowed more than three runs in just two of his 22 starts this season and a season high of five at Philadelphia in late June.

The Mariners, who rank last in the AL in scoring, rattled Beckett quickly with the two home runs, plus a Dustin Ackley double and a two-run single by Mike Carp.

The five runs were the most Seattle has scored in the first inning since a six-run outburst against Oakland at Safeco on Sept. 27, 2008.

Ichiro's rip to right field was his second of the season and the 34th leadoff home run in his 11-year career.

Wells, acquired in the Doug Fister trade with the Tigers, hit a two-run shot to left-center in his first at-bat ever against Beckett to give Seattle its 5-0 lead. It was the sixth home run of the season for Wells and second since he joined the Mariners.

Carp, who'll draw most of the starts at first base now with Justin Smoak going on the 15-day disabled list, ran his hit streak to 13 games, the longest by an AL rookie this season.

Carp is batting .371 with 23 RBIs in 21 games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on July 19 and is at .323 for the season. Comments