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Beltre belts walk-off vs. Yanks as M's end 11-game skid

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners passed out white towels at
Safeco Field. It seemed like the perfect giveaway to signify an
ongoing surrender.

Adrian Beltre gave 42,454 fans an unlikely, alternative use for
the towels. They used them to salute Beltre's two home runs,
including a ninth-inning drive off Ron Villone that lifted the
Mariners over the New York Yankees 6-5 Tuesday night and stopped
Seattle's 11-game losing streak.

"Hopefully now we can put all that junk behind us," Raul Ibanez said following the end of Seattle's longest skid since 1992.

Moments after teammate Yuniesky Betancourt implored him to "go
out there and end this thing," Beltre lined an opposite-field
drive on a shoulder-high 1-2 pitch from Villone just over the
right-field fence.

"It feels great ... especially with the situation we were in
and the team we were playing," Beltre said.

Villone (3-2) stared for a long time into his locker after the
game. He finally said the pitch "wasn't where it was supposed to
be. It didn't break."

Coming off a five-game sweep at Boston, New York had two on with
two outs in the ninth, but Julio Mateo (9-4) struck out Alex
Rodriguez. The Yankees' AL East lead remained a season-high 6½
games over the second-place Red Sox.

"We spoiled ourselves winning all the games ... and figuring
every game was a slam dunk," manager Joe Torre said.

Torre scoffed at the idea that his team was flat following a
cross-country flight.

"If we didn't do anything all day and it was a one-sided
affair, you probably could say it was flat," he said.

New York first baseman Jason Giambi pulled up twice chasing a
foul ball early in the game and then left in the sixth inning with
a tight left hamstring. Giambi, who said the leg has been bothering
him for a couple of weeks, expects to play Wednesday.

"I know how to play on it," Giambi said.

Rodriguez, booed and then mocked by his former Seattle fans for
striking out in his first two at-bats, hit a two-run homer in the
sixth that put New York ahead 5-3. The shot off rookie reliever
Eric O'Flaherty soared to the top of a tunnel in the second deck of
left-field bleachers, about six rows from the top of the ballpark.

But the Mariners rallied in the seventh against Jaret Wright.
With the bases loaded and one out, Richie Sexson hit a slow,
potential double-play, two-hopper to shortstop Derek Jeter.
Beltre's slide toppled second baseman Nick Green as Ichiro Suzuki
scored.

"That's a huge thing ... and he's done it for us a couple of
times this year," Ibanez said of Beltre, whom Seattle fans have
vilified for not producing since signing with the Mariners after
the 2004 season.

After Beltre's gritty play, Villone entered to face Ibanez, who
was batting .214 against lefties. Ibanez singled in the tying run.

Beltre's first home run gave Seattle a 2-0 lead in the first
inning off Jeff Karstens, who made his major league debut. Beltre
had his first multihomer game of the season and raised his home-run
total to 15.

Karstens, the 10th Yankees starter this season, allowed one more
hit and left with a lead after giving up three runs and six hits in
5 2-3 innings.

Karstens, demoted to Double-A Trenton from May to July after
going 0-5 at Triple-A Columbus at the beginning of the season, is
scheduled to start again on Sunday at the Los Angeles Angels.

Bobby Abreu hit his 200th career home run, his second since the
Yankees acquired him from Philadelphia on July 30 and his second
since June 13. The third-inning, three-run drive off starter Cha
Seung Baek erased the 2-0 deficit, but Sexson tied it with a solo
homer in the third.

Baek, called up from Triple-A Tacoma before the game, allowed
three hits and three runs in five innings. He struck out six and
walked three.

Game notes
Jeter's single in the ninth was his 1,532nd, moving him
past Lou Gehrig and Bernie Williams into the Yankees career lead.
... Sexson's home run was his 11th since the All-Star break. ...
Yankees RHP Mike Mussina will miss a rotation turn because of groin
tightness. Mussina estimated he will pitch again in the middle or
end of next week. ... Baek made his first major league start since
Sept. 26, 2004.