Bedard provides timely boost in win
Ace lefty delivers much-needed victory with dominant outing
SEATTLE -- It cost the Seattle Mariners five players to acquire Erik Bedard during the offseason.He provided an argument why he was worth it on Saturday in the Mariners' 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres. Bedard (3-2) worked eight innings, allowing two runs and five hits, walking one and striking out 10. J.J. Putz came on in the ninth to pick up his fourth save. Adrian Beltre, who moved into the No. 2 slot for the first time this season, delivered the crucial blow, a seventh-inning, two-run home run that broke a 2-2 tie. Ichiro Suzuki also had a RBI double in the inning, scoring slow-footed catcher Jamie Burke from first base.
Adrian Gonzalez hit his 10th home run, a two-run, opposite-field shot over the left-field wall, to give the Padres a 2-1 lead in the fourth. It came on a 2-2 pitch. That essentially was Bedard's only mistake."I was just putting fingers down and he was making things happen," Burke said. "He had good movement on his fastball. That was the key for him. And he threw his curveball for strikes." Bedard, acquired on Feb. 8 for, among others, touted outfielder Adam Jones, got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first with an unusual 4-6-5 double play. In the fourth, he was tagged for a leadoff double by Tadahito Iguchi. Iguchi, however, was thrown out trying to take third on Brian Giles' fielder's choice to shortstop. Gonzalez then launched his tater, the sixth opposite-field blast of his 10 home runs. "Besides [the homer], he was on top of his game," Mariners manager John McLaren said. "He had a great curveball. He located his fastball. He was dealing. He came out dealing." Bedard had a similar outing last season against the Padres when he was with Baltimore, going six innings and allowing two runs and five hits. "We saw this last year," Padres' manager Bud Black said. "He's developing into one of the finest left-handers in the game. You don't lead the league in strikeouts without being a good pitcher." Bedard, a man of few or no words, looked like he was shaking off the catcher in dealing with the media afterward. Instead of words, he nodded or shook his head to answer some questions. On whether the victory gave him some personal satisfaction, Bedard simply said, "Not really." His longest response was how he liked his 10-strikeout performance. "It doesn't matter," Bedard said. "As long as we get the win at the end of the game, that's all that matters." McLaren shook up his lineup with four Mariners in different slots. The revamped lineup included Jose Lopez, the team's hottest hitter, moving into the No. 3 hole for the first time in his career. Beltre went from No.3 to No.2. Kenji Johjima, who was batting .440 on a six-game hitting streak, was in the No. 5 spot for the first time in his career. Richie Sexson dropped from fifth to sixth. "It does not matter where I hit, I take the same approach," Beltre said. "In the second-hole, I might take a few more pitches to give [Ichiro] more room to steal a base. But I don't see a difference." Things worked well at the start. Ichiro opened the home first with a sharp single to center. He moved to second on Beltre's right-side groundout, then stole third. It was his 290th career stolen base, matching the club record set by Julio Cruz (1977-83). "Ichiro is getting ready to start on a surge to .360," McLaren said. "It's about that time. He's ready to go." McLaren said the same thing about the team, although he has said it previously, as well. "I feel like we're on our way. I feel that, inside of me,'' he said. "I feel we're getting ready to surge.'' He's not alone. "I think this team is ready to break out," Raul Ibanez added. "I think this is the time. I've actually felt that way for a few games. I feel like it's right there."
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.