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Mariners' Meche shuts down Bonds, Giants

SEATTLE (AP) -- A little extra rest did wonders for Gil Meche and
his balky back.

Meche threw a five-hitter, Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez homered
and the Seattle Mariners beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1
Saturday.

Meche got two extra days of rest for his sore back and responded
with his first complete game since a 2-0 win over Boston on Sept.
12, 2004. He held Barry Bonds without a home run and San Francisco
scoreless until the ninth inning.

"My fastball was jumping out of my hand like it hasn't all
year," Meche said after holding the Giants to a Bonds double, Ray
Durham's home run and three singles.

Meche (7-4) won for the sixth time in eight starts. He said his
back tightened on a pitch in the eighth inning, but he had enough
strength to pitch through it.

"It's all from the extra days off," he said. "It kind of
makes me realize I don't need to throw every day between starts.
Maybe I won't play catch tomorrow."

Bonds had a seventh-inning double after grounding out and lining
out against Meche. The sore-legged designated hitter jogged to
second base on his double, looking better than he did when he
limped to a flyball in left-center Friday night.

Bonds had homered in each of his previous two games to get
within 37 home runs of Hank Aaron's major league home run record.
Todd Greene pinch hit for him in the ninth.

"It's fun, but it's an intimidating thing," Meche said of
facing Bonds for the first time. "He's definitely a presence up
there."

So was Ibanez. He tied a season high with four RBI, including a
three-run homer in the eighth off Kevin Correia, who relieved Jason
Schmidt. Sexson's two-run homer off Schmidt in the second inning
began the scoring as the Mariners won for the eighth time in 12
games since a six-game losing streak.

Ibanez and his teammates only wanted to talk about Meche.

"Gil did a phenomenal job," Ibanez said.

"That's the most strike-throwing I've ever seen from him, and
with all of his pitches," said Jeremy Reed, who got a good view of
all the strikes from center field.

Meche threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of his 33 batters. He only
went to three-ball counts twice -- on his only walk, to Randy Winn
leading off the game, and before striking out Durham in the
seventh.

"He was throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes in fastball
counts," Durham said. "He was just on his game."

Since allowing a season-high six runs -- all in one inning --
during a loss to Texas on May 30, Meche (7-4) has given up a total
of four runs in three starts.

Reed, who starts only against right-handed pitching, hit a home
run off Schmidt one out after Sexson's 250th homer. That gave Meche
a 3-0 lead.

Schmidt (6-3) had his first subpar start in nearly two months,
allowing a season-high six runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He
was pitching before nearly 300 relatives, friends and Little League
coaches from Longview, Wash., the area where he grew up about two
hours south of Seattle.

Ibanez doubled off another 94 mph fastball in the third to score
Jose Lopez for 4-0 lead.

Schmidt rebounded with more off-speed pitches until tiring in
the seventh. Yuniesky Betancourt tripled and scored one out later
when Adrian Beltre hit Schmidt's 115th and final pitch for a
double.

"The biggest thing today is I gave Meche the momentum early,"
said Schmidt, who said his high fastball to Sexson was his only
mistake. "A three-run lead makes it easy."

Schmidt struck out six and walked one. He had gone nine starts
without allowing more than two runs, dating to April 21.

Game notes
Mariners OF Ichiro Suzuki singled to extend his hitting
streak to 17 games, second-longest in the AL this season behind his
18-game streak last month. ... Seattle improved to 5-0 in
interleague games and has won 12 of its last 13 against NL teams at
Safeco Field. ... Giants manager Felipe Alou made good on his
promise to get Travis Ishikawa a start in his hometown, at first
base. Ishikawa, recalled from Double-A Connecticut on Tuesday when
1B Lance Niekro went on the DL, went heels-over-head to make a
catch inside a photographer's well of a foul pop by Betancourt in
the second inning. Many in the crowd of 45,229 gave Ishikawa a
standing ovation. ... The crowd was the second sellout of the
season. The first was on opening day. Safeco Field had six sellouts
in 2005 during a 93-loss season.