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Meche pitches M's past Blue Jays, wins first since July

SEATTLE (AP) -- Gil Meche often threw better in his nearly two
months without a victory than he did while ending his winless
stretch against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

The right-hander was just glad his 5 1/3 average innings against
the Blue Jays finally resulted in his 10th victory.

Meche was backed by solo homers from Adrian Beltre and Raul
Ibanez in the Mariners' 4-2 win over the Blue Jays. Meche (10-8)
was 0-4 with five no-decisions since a 5-3 win against the Blue
Jays on July 14.

He threw well in his last three outings, pitching at least seven
innings without getting a decision each time, and also grew weary
thinking about his winless streak.

"Everybody can quit talking about it, and me, I can quit
thinking about it," Meche said.

He was solid early against the Blue Jays, keeping them hitless
through three innings, then turned the game over to Seattle's
bullpen.

Five Mariners' relievers then combined to throw 3 2/3 scoreless
innings while allowing just three hits and four baserunners. Two of
those hits came in the ninth off closer J.J. Putz, who got Vernon
Wells to fly out to deep center field to end the game. Putz picked
up his 32nd save in 38 chances.

Beltre homered into the Mariners' bullpen in the first and
Ibanez hit a line-drive homer to right-center field leading off the
third, as Seattle got all 12 of its hits in the first five innings.

Ibanez's homer was his 27th of the season and Beltre's his 17th.
Wells hit his 32nd homer in the fourth, a two-run shot that
accounted for Toronto's runs. Both teams struggled with runners in
scoring position, leaving a combined 22 runners on base.

"A lot of times when you burn runs like that ... they come back
to bite you," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said.

Meche gave up a single to Aaron Hill to start the fourth,
followed by Wells' homer to left field that pulled him within one
of his career high of 33 in 2003. Meche worked out a two-out bases
loaded jam in the fifth, and was removed with one out in the sixth
after giving up singles to Lyle Overbay and Bengie Molina. Meche
threw only 91 pitches, striking out seven and walking two.

Meche twisted his right ankle throwing his last warmup pitch
before the start of the second inning. Hargrove thought the ankle
might have been bothering Meche, but the righty said it wasn't a
problem and that his pitches simply weren't as crisp as they were
earlier in the game.

"The first three, four innings I felt great. I kind of hit a
little wall and that's probably why I got taken out so quick,"
Meche said. "I was losing my stuff a little bit and we had the
bullpen set up."

Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty retired the only batter he faced.
Righty Jon Huber walked pinch-hitter Gregg Zahn with two outs to
load the bases, but struck out Russ Adams to end the threat.

"We had the right guys coming to the plate, but it didn't
happen," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Huber, lefty George Sherrill and righty Joel Pineiro combined to
throw the seventh and eighth before giving way to Putz.

Toronto starter Shaun Marcum (2-4) lasted just 2 2/3 innings for
the second time in 12 starts. He was battered for nine hits, but
managed to allow only three runs, as Seattle left six runners on
base in the first three innings.

"I felt like I threw the ball OK. They had some hits that I
thought were pretty good pitches," Marcum said.

Seattle's Chris Snelling snapped an 0-for-14 slump with an RBI
single in the second that scored Kenji Johjima. Jose Lopez added an
infield single in the fifth to score Richie Sexson, who led off
with a double.

Game notes
Seattle improved to 25-18 against the AL East this season,
with its final game against the division coming Wednesday in the
series finale. ... Meche has a 1.98 ERA in his last four starts,
lowering his season ERA to 4.28. ... Toronto's Frank Catalanotto
started in right field for the first time this season. ... Toronto
3B Troy Glaus was 0-for-4 and is 0-for-15 on the Blue Jays' road
trip.