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Ramirez pitches Mariners to win in return from DL

• Bouncing back: Suzuki looked as if Detroit's Justin Verlander had never hit him with a 96 mph fastball the day before. In the lineup as the designated hitter despite a bruised leg, he hit Brian Burres' second pitch into the left-field corner for an easy double. He then stole third base, his 24th steal in 26 tries, and scored on a groundout.

• Unsung hero: Ramirez returned from the disabled list and allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings of his first start since May 24. Ramirez retired his last 11 batters.

• Turning point: Yuniesky Betancourt hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to give the Mariners a two-run lead they wouldn't relinquish.

• Quotable: "If I say my leg hurt today, that would be very rude to the opposing team." -- Suzuki

-- ESPN.com news services

Mariners 4, Orioles 2

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ichiro Suzuki looked like he was showing off,
proving he was fine and fast as usual while running on a bruised
leg.

But the All-Star was actually showing his appreciation for what
he called the best example of teammate selflessness he's seen in
years.

Suzuki had two hits as a designated hitter one day after his
status was in doubt, including a double, stolen base and run scored
that jump-started the transformed Mariners to a 4-2 victory over
the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

"I think Ichiro answered the questions about his leg," manager
John McLaren said.

The Mariners' sixth win in eight games put them a season
high-tying 14 games above .500. Seattle is now just 2½ games behind
the Los Angeles Angels for the division lead.

The selfless teammate he was referring to was Jose Lopez, who
attempted a sacrifice bunt without being told to, after Suzuki had
doubled off Brian Burres to lead off the first.

Lopez, in his second full season in the majors, missed on his
bunt try. So Suzuki stole third base, to say thanks to Lopez for
the kind of unselfish, winning play Suzuki was demanding more of
from the Mariners before this surprising season. He decided last
week to sign a $90 million, five-year contract extension instead of
entering free agency.

"I thought what he attempted to do was big, not only for today
but for the future of this team," Suzuki said.

Said Lopez: "I play to win. I try to move Ichiro up. I
appreciate Ichiro stealing the base to say thanks to me."

Yuniesky Betancourt hit a two-run double to break a 2-2 tie and
make Horacio Ramirez (5-2) a winner in his strong return from the
disabled list. All-Star J.J. Putz finished the ninth inning for his
27th save and his 29th straight conversion dating to last September
30. That extended the longest streak in the major leagues and ended
Baltimore's three-game winning streak.

Suzuki looked as if Detroit's Justin Verlander had never hit him
just above the right knee with a 96 mph fastball the day before. He
hit Burres' second pitch into the left-field corner for an easy
double, running without apparent pain. He then stole third base,
his 24th steal in 26 tries, and scored on a groundout by
Raul Ibanez.

"If I say my leg hurt today, that would be very rude to the
opposing team," Suzuki said through an interpreter, one day after
taking a fastball off his leg and getting removed from a game for
one of the only times since he arrived in Seattle for the 2001
season.

McLaren said Suzuki will be back in center field Tuesday.

Ramon Hernandez homered and Nick Markakis had an RBI single for
the Orioles. Burres allowed nine hits and four runs in six innings.

Burres (4-4) struck out four and walked two -- including Richie
Sexson before Betancourt hit a 1-0 curveball off the yellow line
atop the left-center field wall with two outs and the score tied in
the sixth. That scored Sexson and Kenji Johjima and made Ramirez's
return a winning one.

Ramirez allowed five hits and two runs in a season-high seven
innings of his first start since May 24. He retired his last 11
batters while showing aggressiveness, velocity and command -- all of
which he wasn't showing before he went on the DL May 25.

The Mariners came into Monday averaging almost nine runs each
time Ramirez started, the reason he had a winning record despite a
6.47 ERA that had many doubting his place at the back of the
rotation. But Monday, Ramirez didn't need much support. Not only
did he not allow a walk, he got to ball three on just two of the 24
Orioles he faced.

"I couldn't pick him up tonight ... all fastballs," said
Aubrey Huff, who was 0-for-3.

The radar gun showed a couple of Ramirez's pitches were 94 mph,
far above pre-DL readings in the high 80s.

"I think that was a car passing by in the background," Ramirez
said, chuckling. "That doesn't happen too often."

Baltimore took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Chris Gomez tripled
past Jose Guillen in right field and Ramirez stood and watched
Sexson's diving stop of a one-hopper from Markakis instead of
covering first base. That infield single scored Gomez, while
Ramirez tapped his chest to apologize to Sexson.

Guillen doubled and Sexson, bumped down one spot to sixth
because of his .201 average, singled to tie the game in the
fourth.

Game notes
Suzuki was the DH for the third time in 90 starts. He
remained the only Mariner to start every game this season, and has
averaged 160 games played per season since arriving from Japan for
the 2001 season. ... SS Miguel Tejada rejoined the Orioles and is
expected to hit off a tee and field ground balls Tuesday, his first
work since breaking his wrist June 20. He is due for another X-ray
July 24.