Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Seattle leads 1-0 (as of 7/16)

Game 1: Monday, July 16
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Seattle4
Game 2: Tuesday, July 17
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Seattle3
Game 3: Wednesday, July 18
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Seattle6

Orioles 2

(41-52, 19-29 away)

Mariners 4

(52-38, 30-17 home)

10:05 PM ET, July 16, 2007

Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

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BAL 010100000 2 6 0
SEA 10010200 - 4 10 0

W: H. Ramirez (5-2)

L: B. Burres (4-4)

S: J. Putz (27)

Ramirez pitches Mariners to win in return from DL

A CLOSER LOOK
• Summary: Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, Horacio Ramirez was strong in his return from the disabled list and the Mariners beat the Orioles.

Ichiro Suzuki
Suzuki

• 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 2 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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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