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CLE@SEA: Figgins hits solo homer in the first

SEATTLE -- Any questions about whether the Mariners would come out reeling Wednesday after blowing a seven-run lead the night before were answered quickly.

Very quickly.

Chone Figgins hit a leadoff home run off Derek Lowe that just cleared the right-center field fence and Ichiro Suzuki followed suit two batters later, hitting a solo shot to nearly the same location to give the Mariners an early 2-0 lead.

Seattle never looked back in a 4-1 win over the Indians in front of 11,343 at Safeco Field to improve to 7-6.

"For some reason, [Lowe's] ball was more of running and not sinking," Figgins said. "Usually it's sinking straight down, and tonight it looked like it was kind of running. That makes it a little easier to hit; he's tough as it is, anyways."

Figgins' home run was his first since Opening Day 2011. It was his eighth career leadoff home run and the first by a Mariner not named Ichiro since Rickey Henderson on May 26, 2000. Ichiro's blast was his first since 2011, as well, and his first from his newly-acquired third spot in the lineup.

If there was any doubt as to which long ball traveled farther, Ichiro cleared that up as soon as he arrived back in the dugout.

"I think he said his is still further; he said his is still further," Figgins said with a chuckle. "We can take that, I can accept that."

The Mariners tacked on another run in the second when Jesus Montero drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk that scored Brendan Ryan from third.

Seattle added to its lead in the fourth when Dustin Ackley singled home Ryan from third to make it a 4-1 game. Ryan had gotten aboard via his fifth walk in two days, and moved to third on a single by Figgins.

The Indians were able to chip into a three-run deficit in the third when Aaron Cunningham scored on a sacrifice fly, just ahead of Michael Saunders' throw from center to cut the lead to 3-1, but Cleveland missed its biggest opportunity to do some real damage in the sixth.

Struggling with his command for the first time on the night, Seattle starter Jason Vargas issued two walks and allowed a single to load the bases with just one out. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Carl Willis, the lefty settled down to strike out Shelley Duncan and induce Jose Lopez into an inning-ending groundball to shortstop.

"We felt that was our opportunity, especially with Shelley up -- he hits against lefties so well," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He missed a pitch there and then, Vargas, you've got to give him credit, he made some good pitches. He ran the ball in on him and then threw a great changeup in that count to strike him out."

"I was just throwing a lot of balls down in the dirt, and I didn't really have any command of the fastball there for a couple innings," Vargas said of the sixth-inning troubles. "I was able to get him to swing at a changeup out of the zone, and that was a big out, I think."

Aside from the hiccup in the third and the bases-loaded jam in the sixth, Vargas was effective all night, using a variety of offspeed pitches to keep batters off balance. He was able to get through seven innings on 107 pitches, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out seven. Brandon League came on in the ninth to record his fifth save.

Vargas' counterpart wasn't so effective. The Mariners chased Lowe after just 4 1/3 innings, pegging him for four earned runs on eight hits. Seattle also showed patience at the plate, drawing six walks from the Indians starter.

"One thing we've talked about, from an offensive standpoint, when it all settles in and these guys start to mesh together, we're going to see more pitches, we're going to draw more walks and strike out less," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "All those work together when you talk about getting on base and creating more opportunities. We did a good job again creating opportunities." Comments