<
>

M's win fifth straight, rally late to beat D-Backs

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners are on the move, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in a free fall.

So, of course, the Mariners rallied with two runs in the ninth
inning to beat the beleaguered Diamondbacks 3-2 on Thursday night.

Raul Ibanez hit a disputed homer and Kenji Johjima tripled to
set up the go-ahead run. Yuniesky Betancourt's two-out single drove
in pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist to give the Mariners their fifth
consecutive victory and 10th in 12 games.

Eddie Guardado (1-3) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to get
the victory. J.J. Putz threw the ninth for his 14th save in 15
tries.

"These guys are starting to believe in themselves," Seattle
manager Mike Hargrove said. "That's a big, big hurdle we have to
get over."

The Diamondbacks have lost 20 of their last 23 games and
finished the homestand 1-5.

"What are you going to do?" manager Bob Melvin asked. "We've
seen just about everything during this, and today's was the
toughest loss."

Enrique Gonzalez allowed three hits over seven innings and
scored both Arizona runs to give Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead entering
the ninth.

But closer Jorge Julio (1-3) blew a save for the first time in
seven tries, giving up the leadoff homer to Ibanez, his 17th, to
tie it at 2. The 422-foot shot to straightaway center was initially
ruled a triple, but after the umpires huddled, they decided it had
it hit the wall above the home run line.

"I was just going as hard as I could, trying to get as many
bases as I could before they got it in," Ibanez said. "I knew I
hit it pretty good, but I couldn't tell."

Melvin was ejected for arguing the call, the third time he's
been tossed in the last eight games. Although he acknowledged that
it may have been a homer, he was upset that second base umpire Ron
Kulpa was overruled.

"It seems like every time that call is made the guy who's
closest to the play gets overruled," he said.

The homer came on a 3-1 pitch.

"For us to come back against a closer that's got a great arm,
this is huge for us," Ibanez said. "It was a fastball. I just
tried to put an easy swing on it. He throws so hard that he
supplies the power."

After one out, Johjima followed with his first major league
triple, into the right field corner. Julio struck out Jeremy Reed,
but Betancourt singled to center on the first pitch to put Seattle
ahead.

"I threw my best fastball," Julio said. "I don't know what
happened. I feel bad because the team isn't doing good right now. I
don't care about me, I care about the team."

The blown lead spoiled a strong outing by Gonzalez, who has been
called up from Triple-A Tucson twice this season. He gave up a
triple to Adrian Beltre and an RBI infield single to Jose Lopez in
the first, then shut down the Mariners on one hit over the next six
innings.

Seattle's Gil Meche allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits
in seven innings. He struck out four and walked one, but balked to
allow Gonzalez to score the tying run in the fifth.

Arizona went ahead 2-1 with an unearned in the fifth when
Gonzalez reached on a two-out error by second baseman Lopez, who
failed to backhand the sharp grounder. Craig Counsell walked, then
Gonzalez scored from second on Eric Byrnes' single.

Beltre doubled and tripled to extend his hitting streak to 12
games.

His triple came with one out in the first, then he scored on
Lopez's infield single, a play initially ruled an error on third
baseman Chad Tracy.

Gonzalez helped himself with his second big league single to
lead off the third. Counsell singled, but was erased on a double
play that sent Gonzalez to third. He scored on Meche's balk to make
it 1-1.

Game notes
The Mariners went 7-2 against Los Angeles, San Diego and
Arizona on its nine-game trip through the NL West. ... Ichiro
Suzuki went hitless (0-for-5) for only the second time in June and
fifth in 50 games. ... Gonzalez has been in the Diamondbacks system
since being signed as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela in 1998.