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Aussie wins debut; Winn drives in three

SEATTLE (AP) -- When the phone rang late Wednesday night, Travis
Blackley wasn't sure who could be on the other end.

Turned out it was Seattle Mariners manager Bob Melvin, with a
proposition that was too good to pass up. How would Blackley like
to drive up from Tacoma and pitch the next day against the Texas
Rangers?

"I said as calmly as I could, 'Sure, why not?" Blackley
recalled.

The Australian left-hander showed the same kind of composure on
the mound to win his major league debut, and Randy Winn drove in
three runs to help Seattle beat Texas 8-4 on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Blackley (1-0), who had won his last seven
decisions at Triple-A Tacoma, allowed four runs and six hits in 5
2-3 innings against the Rangers. He walked three and struck out
one.

"Not too bad," Blackley said. "I didn't have any filthy
pitches that were just awesome today. I went as good as I could
with what I had, and it worked."

He got into a jam in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs.
But Blackley limited the damage to one run with a double-play
groundout by Mark Teixeira and a fly ball by Hank Blalock.

"Composure is one of his biggest attributes, not letting things
bother him," Melvin said. "He's not a high velocity guy, but he's
a command guy who pitches to both sides and he's not afraid to come
inside."

Ichiro Suzuki and Bret Boone each had two doubles among their
three hits. Seattle finished with six doubles and 12 hits, gaining
a split of the four-game series with the AL West-leading Rangers.

Ron Villone and Shigetoshi Hasegawa finished with 3 1-3 innings
of hitless relief.

It was Blackley's day, although he confessed to feeling a little
weary after a rough night. After the call from Melvin, it took
Blackley five hours on the phone to reach his parents in Australia.

His barking dog seemed to sense the excitement and kept him
awake. Still, he was eager to go when he reported to Safeco Field.

"It was an adrenaline rush," Blackley said. "I didn't feel
tired at all. I could go again."

Blackley got plenty of offense, too, because the Mariners had
their bats going early. They jumped on Texas starter John Wasdin
(1-1) for three runs in a 30-pitch first inning. Seattle had four
hits in the first, highlighted by Winn's RBI double.

After trading All-Star right-hander Freddy Garcia last weekend,
Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi promised fans they'd get to see
the pitching talent that has been stockpiled in the minor leagues.

Blackley didn't disappoint, using his curveball and off-speed
pitches to set up an 86 mph fastball.

"The changeup was real good. He changed speeds on his fastball
exceptionally well," catcher Pat Borders said. "He threw strong
and his composure was strong. To be able to throw like that in your
first start is a big asset, something you can't teach."

Texas hitters hadn't seen him before, and it showed when
Blackley breezed through the early innings.

"You can see why they like him so much," Rangers manager Buck
Showalter said. "He's got good stuff. He's impressive."

Blackley's first walk wasn't issued until Ken Huckaby got on
base in the third, and he didn't give up a hit until Michael
Young's double in the fourth.

"The first time through, we weren't sure what to expect," said
Kevin Mench, who hit a three-run homer in the sixth. "He threw the
ball well. They staked him some runs early. That probably helped
him relax a little more."

Blackley left after allowing Mench's two-out shot in the sixth.
The left-hander received an enthusiastic standing ovation as he
came off the field while Villone trotted in from the bullpen.

Blackley became the sixth Seattle pitcher to win his major
league debut. The others were Joel Pineiro (2000), Garcia (1999),
Bob Wolcott (1995), Mark Langston (1984) and Matt Young (1983).

Game notes
Wasdin pitched 2 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs and eight
hits. ... Seattle's six doubles were the most allowed by the
Rangers all season. ... Former University of Washington WR Reggie
Williams, a first-round NFL draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars,
threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Two of Boone's hits
required scoring reviews: a third-inning dribbler where C Huckaby
initially was charged with an error and a fourth-inning shot past
Blalock. ... Blackley threw 64 of his 108 pitches for strikes.