SEATTLE (AP) -- Per his usual routine, Erik Bedard answered questions with a nod or shrug. He was doing his best to keep from taking any credit for his best performance of the season at a time the Seattle Mariners were desperate for just such an effort.
Bedard struck out a season-high 10 in eight strong innings, Adrian Beltre awakened Seattle's anemic offense with a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh and the Mariners rallied for a 4-2 win over San Diego on Saturday night.Heading for their ninth loss in 11 games, the Mariners suddenly awakened for three runs in the seventh, making a deserving winner out of Bedard."It doesn't matter, as long as we get the win at the end of the game, that's all that matters," Bedard said in his most lengthy answer.Beltre, mired in a monthlong slump, provided the decisive blow for Seattle, but the rally started thanks to backup catcher Jamie Burke and a workmanlike at-bat from Ichiro Suzuki.Burke started the seventh dribbling a single into center field. After a fly out, Suzuki worked a 3-2 count on Randy Wolf, fouling off several pitches. On the 10th pitch, Suzuki drove a fastball to deep right-center that barely eluded the reach of right fielder Brian Giles.Despite not being the fleetest of runners, Burke was waved home. He plowed across home plate just ahead of the relay throw and got a wet towel tossed on his head in the dugout after pulling Seattle even at 2-all."I'm always surprised to see myself go around third to score," Burke cracked.Suzuki's double ended the night for San Diego starter Wolf and Cla Meredith got a rude welcome from Beltre. Meredith had allowed just one earned run in his previous 10 appearances, but Beltre, who entered the night hitting just .164 in May, lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats, giving Seattle the lead for good.Beltre has been shuffled through the lineup as manager John McLaren tries to re-ignite his third baseman's bat. Beltre batted second for the first time this season on Saturday, and was hitting above .300 in late April before skidding."I just want to be in the lineup," Beltre said. "It doesn't matter where I hit, I'm going to have the same approach anyway."Bedard (3-2) rebounded from his last start in Texas, where he lasted only two innings and gave up six runs on seven hits. Bedard had not made it through eight innings yet this season, and gave up just five hits, not allowing a hit after the fourth inning.Bedard had lost his previous two decisions. J.J. Putz allowed a pair of baserunners in the ninth, but finished his fourth save in six chances."That's the kind of game plan we've had around here for a couple of years -- eight [innings] and pass the ball off to J.J.," McLaren said. "It worked good tonight."All of San Diego's offense came in the one inning Bedard struggled, when Adrian Gonzalez went opposite field with a high fastball, lining it into the Padres' bullpen for his 10th homer of the season. Tony Clark followed Gonzalez's homer with a single, but San Diego's only other baserunner against Bedard came in the sixth when Giles walked.Wolf (2-4) also erased a poor performance in his last outing, when he gave up seven runs in four innings against the Chicago Cubs, but still lost his fourth straight decision."You can pitch better, but it doesn't mean anything at the end of the game if the other team has more runs," Wolf said.Masterfully changing speeds from 91 mph fastballs to looping curves at 66 mph, Wolf kept Seattle's batters guessing. And when the Mariners did threaten in the early innings, they failed to come through with the clutch hits their struggling offense has been trying to find for weeks.Seattle entered the night hitting .300 against left-handers, but Wolf limited the Mariners to just five hits until the seventh. His escaped a jam in the first when Raul Ibanez sliced a double into the left-field corner, scoring Suzuki and putting runners on second and third with just one out.But Wolf struck out Kenji Johjima swinging, then fed Richie Sexson a steady offering of slow curveballs before getting Seattle's slugger looking at a knee-high fastball to end the inning.Seattle left runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings.
Suzuki tied Julio Cruz's club record with his 290th stolen base when he stole third base in the first. ... Padres' manager Bud Black said he should know for sure on Sunday the plan for injured C Michael Barrett, who threw from behind the plate on Friday for the first time since going on the DL last month. Barrett is likely headed for a rehab assignment at Triple-A Portland early next week. ... Clark's single in the fourth was his first hit batting right-handed this season.