Mariners get back on track
Ichiro's three-run triple helps top Texas, snap six-game skid
ARLINGTON -- A bad streak ended and a good streak continued Monday night as the Mariners slipped by the Rangers, 5-4. The win ended Seattle's six-game losing skid and designated hitter Jose Vidro improved his hitting streak to eight games.It was also a night of firsts, as Seattle pitcher Brandon Morrow notched his first career win and the Mariners picked up their first save of the year thanks to J.J. Putz. "The team needed this big-time," Putz said. "This was a big win for us." The Mariners got to Rangers starter Kevin Millwood (2-3, 5.46) in the fourth inning. Raul Ibanez led off with a single and Jose Guillen followed suit. A Yuniesky Betancourt walk loaded the bases for Jose Lopez, who singled home Ibanez to open the scoring. Lopez collected three hits on the evening. After Jamie Burke struck out, Ichiro Suzuki stepped to the plate and ripped a bases-clearing triple down the right-field line to put Seattle up, 4-0. Ichiro ended the night 3-for-5 with three RBIs and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Texas attempted to answer in the bottom half of the frame when Hank Blalock took starting pitcher Cha Seung Baek's slider deep for a two-run shot to right field, cutting the Mariners' lead in half. Baek was making his 2007 Major League debut, and allowed only one hit in the first three innings before faltering in the fourth. "I though he was good," said manager Mike Hargrove of Baek's performance. "He didn't get tired, I think he started trying to do too much in the fourth and the fifth and got himself in trouble. On the whole he was good." Baek did indeed run into more trouble in the fifth. Frank Catalanotto tripled before Michael Young plated him with a single to center. Mark Teixeira then singled as did Sammy Sosa, who picked up an RBI when Young crossed home to knot the game at 4-4. Baek's night was finished. He allowed the four earned runs on eight hits while registering a single strikeout and walking a pair. Morrow then entered the game and launched a wild pitch before intentionally walking Blalock. Morrow collected himself and struck out both Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz to end the inning. Morrow then dispatched the next seven Rangers batters, while the offense gave him the one run of support he would need to earn a pie in the face for his first career victory. Morrow allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 innings and struck out two with two walks. "I had a lot of adrenaline going," Morrow said. "I think it worked well for me. I wasn't throwing my offspeed stuff too good. I only threw a few offspeed pitches. I was working the fastball for the most part." Ibanez's groundout RBI in the seventh proved to be the difference in the contest as Beltre scored to put Seattle ahead for good. Putz relieved Morrow in the eight and collected Seattle's first save of the 2007 season by retiring all four batters he faced.
Shawn Smajstrla is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.