Edgar's batting, Meche's pitching key M's win

The Mariners improved to 11 games over .500 and took over first place in the AL West with a win over Detroit coupled by an Oakland loss to Cleveland.

Take away the recent struggles of Freddy Garcia, and it's hard to find anything else glaringly wrong with the way the Seattle Mariners are playing.

Friday night the Mariners had several reasons to smile after coming from behind to knock off 20-year old Pasco, Wash. native Jeremy Bonderman and the Detroit Tigers, 6-3.

The Mariners (26-16) were led by another solid outing by Gil Meche and the seemingly unending hot-hitting of Edgar Martinez.

Meche gave up two runs in the second inning, but settled down and held the Tigers at two until the Mariners' bats could chip away at Bonderman.

Seattle trailed for much of the game as Bonderman spotted his offspeed pitches to perfection and struck out a career-high seven batters in five innings of work.

It wasn't until the sixth inning when the Mariners took control. Tigers' manager Alan Trammell elected to keep Bonderman in the game, a decision that failed to work in Detroit's favor. He walked the first batter, Bret Boone, then threw two consecutive breaking balls to Martinez. Edgar, having grown accustomed to seeing the pitch, made the youngster pay when Bonderman threw it once more, sending it over the shortened wall in left-center to give the Mariners their first lead of the game.

Randy Winn later singled that inning to drive home John Olerud, who reached base on a walk. That left the Mariners ahead 4-2.

Meche (5-2) worked the bottom half of the inning to gain the rights to the winning decision, still needing the bullpen to close the door to do so.

That they did. Arthur Rhodes didn't allow a hit in two innings of middle-relief and struck out two. Kazuhiro Sasaki came on to record his first save since returning from the disabled list, his fifth of the season.

Insurance runs in the seventh on a Mike Cameron RBI single and in the ninth on a one-run single by Edgar helped ease the tension in the final innings.

Bonderman dropped to 2-6 on the year. The Tigers fell to 9-30.

Martinez, Boone and Ichiro had two hits apiece.


Game Notes:

So Long Cirillo: Mariners third baseman Jeff Cirillo was ejected in the sixth inning by homeplate umpire Larry Vanover for arguing balls and strikes. Cirillo felt that Steve Sparks' knuckleball was high in the strikezone, but Vanover punched him out to end the inning.

Moving In: Comerica Park has new field dimensions this season, and they are coming into play. The left-centerfield wall has been moved in 25-feet, from 395 to 370, which helped Edgar Martinez hit his 10th homer Friday. Had the field been as it was in its first three seasons of existance, Martinez's long-ball would have instead been a long flyout.

Hit Master: With two hits in the game, Ichiro reached 500 hits for his major league career. What makes the feat so impressive is the fact that it took him little more than two seasons to do so.


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