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M's shake off triple play, end 12-game road skid

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- It's been awhile since Seattle won
away from home.

Cha Seung Baek allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings as the
Mariners overcame a triple play to stop a 12-game road losing
streak with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday
night.

Baek (2-0) gave up six hits, one walk and had four strikeouts.
J.J. Putz pitched two innings to earn his 29th save. Putz gave up a
two-out solo homer to Ben Zobrist in the ninth.

"The first three innings, I was not focused actually," Baek
said. "I tried to concentrate. Lucky game."

The Mariners' team record for consecutive road losses is 15, set
June 22-July 28, 2004. It was their first road victory since Aug. 2
at Baltimore.

"You just have to get rid of the absolute hollow feeling in the
pit of your stomach," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said of the
triple play. "It takes a couple of innings. Everything had to
happen just right for that to be pulled off and it did. It
obviously gave them the momentum back, and our guys battled through
that and did what we had to do to win the ball game."

The Devil Rays threw out two runners trying to advance during a
first-inning triple play.

Seattle had Jose Lopez on third and Beltre on first when Raul
Ibanez struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Adrian Beltre broke for second on
the play, but pulled up short of the base when catcher Dioner
Navarro's throw easily beat him to the base. Shortstop Zobrist
caught Navarro's throw and took a few steps before tagging out
Beltre as he headed back toward first.

Zobrist then threw home where Navarro tagged out Lopez on his
attempt to score from third.

"His [Navarro's] throw down to the second was perfect,"
Zobrist said. "It led me straight into him where I could take it
and just continue running and make the tag. I saw the guy taking
off for home, so it's just snap, snap, just like that."

Devil Rays starting pitcher J.P. Howell said the play was "like
a snowball fight."

"Threw a strike, and let them do it," he said. "I just
watched the ball fly around."

According to SABR, it was the first-ever 2-6-2 triple play in
major league history.

"That was pretty neat," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
"Zobrist really made the play happen. They executed it very well.
In a practice situation you couldn't do it any better."

It was the first triple play at Tropicana Field and the second
turned in Devil Rays history. They also accomplished the feat on
Sept. 13, 2002 at Toronto.

Seattle has been on the wrong side of a triple play nine times
in team history, including twice this season. The other one this
year came May 27 against Minnesota.

"I've seem them, and that definitely was a weird play," Ibanez
said. "We came back, and the most important thing at the end of
the day is whether you win or lose."

Beltre had RBI singles in the first and third, helping the
Mariners take a 3-1 lead. Richie Sexson hit a third-inning,
bases-loaded sacrifice fly.

Rocco Baldelli and Delmon Young also homered for Tampa Bay.
Howell (0-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Mike Morse made it 4-1 on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Baldelli hit his third lead-off homer of the season in the first
and Young had an eighth-inning solo shot that cut the Tampa Bay
deficit to 4-2.

After Zobrist's homer in the ninth, Baldelli hit a game-ending
fly to deep center.

"A lot of good things," Maddon said. "We just got beat
tonight."

Game notes
Tampa Bay RHP Jae Seo (strained left groin) threw a
simulated game and is scheduled to rejoin the rotation Tuesday.
"Everything was OK," Seo said. "No pain. I feel good." ...
Seattle CF Ichiro Suzuki singled in the first and third for his
57th multihit game this season and 401st overall. ... Suzuki
extended his streak of successful stolen base attempts to 31 when
stole third in the third. It's one short of Julio Cruz's team
record. ... Devil Rays LF Carl Crawford singled in the first to
stop an 0-for-15 slide.