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Vargas shines in M’s victory

ST. LOUIS — Jason Vargas stymied the St. Louis Cardinals into the eighth inning and Matt Holliday failed again in the clutch in the Seattle Mariners’ 2-1 victory that prevented a three-game sweep on Wednesday night.

Holliday struck out on a ball in the dirt against Brandon League with the tying run at third to end the eighth, dropping his average to .194 with runners in scoring position.

Vargas (5-2) gave up a run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, the second-longest outing of his career, and is 3-0 over his last eight starts. He outpitched St. Louis rookie Jaime Garcia (6-3), who gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings.

Albert Pujols barely missed homering on a drive off the top of the wall in left-center in the fourth.

Garcia had been 3-0 in his previous six starts, and his ERA climbed 10 points to 1.59.

Ichiro Suzuki doubled and singled for his major league-leading 32nd multihit game and second in the series, and extended his interleague hitting streak to 20 games. Ichiro singled off Dennys Reyes to open the eighth and stole second but was picked off by reliever Jason Motte.

Reyes has lasted only two-thirds of an inning in his last five appearances, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.

David Aardsma worked the ninth for his 14th save in 18 chances. Chone Figgins’ fifth-inning single was the go-ahead hit for the Mariners, who won for the third time in 13 games.

Pujols’ near homer with one out in the fourth was the second call to undergo video review this season at Busch Stadium, both of which confirmed the original ruling. Second-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth said the ball had fallen just short, immediately waving the safe sign.

Left fielder Milton Bradley barely missed a leaping catch on Pujols’ drive, which seemed to lose steam on a humid night. Pujols politicked unsuccessfully as he stood at second but eventually scored on Ryan Ludwick’s sacrifice fly to tie it at 1.