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SEA@MIN: Ichiro drives in Gimenez with a sac fly

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mariners right-hander Blake Beavan has been the master of control in his rookie season, throwing strikes and challenging batters while issuing just 13 walks in 14 starts.

But the youngster couldn't control what happened after he left Thursday's game with the Twins as Minnesota rallied in the ninth inning for a 3-2 victory that snapped an 11-game losing streak.

The Mariners' offense failed to take advantage of a 13-hit day, going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranding 12 runners.

And after Beavan went seven innings without a walk -- running his string to 24 1/3 innings without a free pass -- the Twins scored the winning run when rookie reliever Steve Delabar walked Trevor Plouffe with two outs and then surrendered an RBI double to left fielder Rene Tosoni.

"Today was a tough one for us," said Delabar, who took the loss after allowing his first run in four Major League appearances. "We were rolling the last few games and I got in a situation where I put a guy on for free, then I left a pitch up and the guy hits it like he's supposed to.

"Those walks always come around and get you," Delabar said. "I've got to do a better job next time making him earn his way on."

The Mariners actually dodged bullets on a pair of previous walks -- one by lefty reliever Cesar Jimenez leading off the eighth and another by Delabar starting the ninth.

Delabar, a substitute teacher in Kentucky when he received a tryout with the Mariners last spring, got Jimenez out of his jam by coming in and inducing a Michael Cuddyer double-play ball.

And after Delabar walked his own leadoff batter in the ninth, the Mariners appeared on the verge of escaping trouble again when Danny Valencia was thrown out stealing.

But Plouffe followed with a walk, Tosoni drove a Delabar fastball to the wall in right center and just like that, this one was over. It was a club-record 13th walkoff loss of the season for Seattle, which missed a chance for its first series sweep in Minnesota since 2003.

Seattle loaded the bases in the eighth, but Ichiro Suzuki hit a comebacker to the mound to erase that final golden chance of a frustrating afternoon.

"We gave ourselves multiple opportunities," said Mariners skipper Eric Wedge. "Obviously we really pushed that eighth inning, but they made pitches when they had to. We left a lot of runners on. We had a lot of hits today for just a couple of runs.

"We swung the bats well. Usually one of the last things to come for young hitters is hitting with runners in scoring position, particularly with two outs. We've had short spurts, but nothing consistent. That's something we'll have to do a lot better with next year and I think we will."

Designated hitter Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Seattle in his second start since injuring his groin muscle before being lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth.

"I'm feeling a little better," said Smoak. "I felt like I was running a little better. Of course, I wasn't running fast, but I didn't feel it while I was running so that's a good thing. And my swing is feeling a lot better. My timing is starting to get there."

Beavan continued his strong finish to his rookie campaign, holding the Twins to a pair of runs over seven innings. The 22-year-old Texan has one remaining start -- Tuesday against the A's in Safeco -- and is now 5-5 with a 3.82 ERA since his promotion from Triple-A Tacoma in early July.

Beavan's string of 24 1/3 innings without a walk is the sixth-longest in club history.

"That's the biggest thing for me. I've got to pitch to contact and get ground balls and go deep into the game," said the youngster. "When I don't walk anybody, it's a bonus for myself, let's me know I'm locating and making the pitches when I need to."

The Mariners scored in each of the first two innings against Twins rookie right-hander Anthony Swarzak, but he wound up scattering nine hits and two walks over six frames without further damage.

"They were swinging the bats early," said Swarzak. "They weren't letting me throw too many fastballs early to get ahead in the count. The balls kept finding holes, so I had to figure out a different way to get outs.

"I started throwing offspeed stuff early in the count to get them off that fastball and then they started hitting balls at guys, and sometimes that's all you need." 

Ichiro went 1-for-4 with a run and RBI and now heads to Texas with his quest for 200 essentially over, needing 21 hits in the remaining six games to reach 200 for an 11th straight year. Comments