SEATTLE (AP) -- Sidney Ponson won't be going to the All-Star Game even if he's a late invitee as an injury replacement. That doesn't mean he hasn't been one of the best pitchers in the American League all season.
Ponson threw only 89 pitches in his fourth complete game of the season, and Luis Matos and David Segui homered as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 Thursday night.Ponson threw a seven-hitter, winning for the 11th time in 14 starts."He was absolutely golden," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "I don't know if Sidney has ever been any better. In the last month, he's been absolutely outstanding, and we've been scoring runs for him."Ponson (12-5) ranks third in the AL, throwing all of Baltimore's complete games this season. He struck out six and walked one, and he's arguably pitching as well as anyone in the league.He was snubbed, though, for next week's All-Star Game."I'll get six days of rest," Ponson said. "It's going to be well-needed. I've said all along that if I'm not picked, I'm not picked. I'll find something else to do. If they call tomorrow, they can forget about it."The Orioles won a series at Safeco Field for the first time. They are 3-16 at the Seattle ballpark since it opened in mid-1999.Ponson did it with 66 strikes, regularly getting the Mariners to ground out on his first offering. He retired the side in order five times."I throw strikes all the time," he said. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes, it's a bad thing. If you throw lot of strikes, sometimes you're going to give up a lot of hits. I didn't make a lot of mistakes in the zone. That's what helped me out today."Freddy Garcia (9-8), who won six straight starts from May 27 to June 29, lost for the second straight time. He pitched into the eighth inning, allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.One night after the Mariners lost 7-2 for Ryan Franklin's fourth straight defeat, they still couldn't produce runs for Garcia."We haven't been hitting well lately, but you've still got to go pitch," Garcia said. "Sometimes, when your team gets into a slump, you've still got to go pitch."Garcia's loss denied the Mariners' bid to have four 10-game winners before the All-Star break for the first time. Seattle missed a chance to become the fifth team in history to accomplish that feat.The Orioles extended the lead to 3-1 shortly after Garcia departed, with Melvin Mora scoring after Baltimore loaded the bases against reliever Arthur Rhodes and Jay Gibbons hit into a double play.Seattle manager Bob Melvin brought in reliever Jeff Nelson, and Baltimore's Tony Batista singled to left to drive in Segui, who reached second on a ground-rule double, to make it 4-1.Mora went 1-for-4 but is hitting .356, leading the AL. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who ranks second at .350, went 2-for-4.The Mariners built an early 1-0 lead after Suzuki singled on Ponson's first pitch of the game. Baltimore tied it in the fifth when Matos hit a solo home run to left, driving a 1-1 pitch into the Seattle bullpen.Segui put Baltimore ahead 2-1 in the sixth. Garcia left a slider high on an 0-2 pitch, and Segui curled it into the stands in right for his fourth homer of the season but his first since May 11."His knees have been bothering him," Hargrove said. "The last three days, it has been feeling better. He's got a little stronger base to hit from, and David is a good hitter."The Mariners have lost five of seven, and Melvin shuffled the lineup in the hope that it would spark the offense. But after sending six batters to the plate in the first, Seattle got only one runner to second."I switched my Sharpie colors and put new candy out there, the whole bit," Melvin said. "It just didn't work out, but it will. We will get through this."
Seattle has allowed 96 homers, 52 at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. ... Baltimore 1B Jeff Conine singled in the second, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Orioles SS Deivi Cruz went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 13 games. ... Mariners 3B Jeff Cirillo went 0-for-3, extending his hitless streak to 12 at-bats. ... The Orioles are 11-4 against the AL West. ... Suzuki struck out in the eighth, ending his streak of 59 plate appearances without a K.