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Seattle’s winning streak ends

Thu., Aug. 31, 2006, midnight

SEATTLE – It could have been the residual letdown after Rafael Soriano’s horrifying injury the previous night, or maybe it was just John Lackey’s pitching.

Whatever the reason, the Seattle Mariners couldn’t come through on the final night of their nine-game homestand Wednesday the way they did through most of the first eight.

The Mariners got nine hits off Lackey in 6 1/3 innings but couldn’t get the big one to either break open their early lead or come from behind at the end, losing 5-3 to the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.

The loss ended Seattle’s season-best six-game winning streak. The parting gift as they leave for three games at Tampa Bay was a 7-2 homestand, a dramatic improvement after their 0-11 record on the last road trip.

“Tonight was disappointing, but we played a good homestand,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “We played a good ballgame tonight, but we played a good team. They had a good pitcher on the mound.”

Lackey improved to 11-9, but he hardly flummoxed the Mariners. He allowed not only those nine hits but also hit two batters and threw two wild pitches.

The Mariners scored once in the third inning and twice in the fourth, but suffered through six other opportunities with runners in scoring position.

One of their runs came on a squeeze bunt that really wasn’t.

Yuniesky Betancourt broke for home as Chris Snelling squirted a bunt up the first-base line in the third inning, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Replays showed the ball caromed off Snelling’s right foot, technically a foul ball, although plate umpire Jerry Crawford didn’t see it that way.

The Angels got to Mariners starter Jake Woods for four hits and two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, but the M’s came back with two in the bottom of the inning on Johjima’s RBI double and Jose Lopez’s RBI single, leading 3-2.

The Angels got both of those runs back in the sixth when Woods left a pitch over the middle of the plate that Garret Anderson pulled into the right-field seats for a home run – and a 3-3 tie – and a pitch that Robb Quinlan, the next hitter, hit to center for a double.

Joel Pineiro relieved Woods, but he gave up a double to Howie Kendrick to score Quinlan for a 4-3 Angels lead. The Angels added a run off Pineiro in the seventh when Vladimir Guerrero doubled and Juan Rivera drove him home with a single.

Woods, after his third start as Pineiro’s replacement in the rotation, blamed himself.

“I made mistakes that I paid for, and that was the difference in the game,” said Woods (4-2).


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