SEATTLE – Jose Lopez got the hero’s treatment after pounding the winning single off the left-field scoreboard.
It was the Mariners’ pitching, however, that deserved all the credit after Friday night’s 2-1, 12-inning win over San Francisco.
Following a leadoff home run by Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand, Mariners starter Jason Vargas and relievers Mark Lowe, David Aardsma and Sean White shut out the Giants the rest of the way, carrying the Mariners woeful offense long enough for Lopez to come through in the third extra inning.
By the time the winning rally took place, many of the 38,520 who came to Safeco Field were gone. Those who were still around saw Wladimir Balentien start the 12th with a walk. That was followed by a Russell Branyan single to right, which moved Balentien to third. Rob Johnson walked to bring Lopez up with the bases loaded and no outs, and for the third time this season, Lopez came through with a game-ending hit.
Making his third start of the season, Vargas was something of an afterthought heading into the game, because the opposing starter was former Mariner Randy Johnson, seeking career win No. 299. But while Johnson was solid in his outing, Vargas was the more dominant pitcher.
Vargas’ night started off with a bang – and not in a good way – as Aaron Rowland led off the game with a solo home run to left field.
From there, however, Vargas was nearly flawless. The 26-year-old lefty retired the next 10 batters he faced, including five in a row via strikeout, and allowed only two base runners the rest of the way through seven innings.
He finished with seven strikeouts, matching a career high, and allowed two hits and one walk.
And while Johnson wasn’t quite at his vintage 1990s form – the fastball topped out in the low 90s and the slider, though still plenty effective, had a little less bite – against the offensively challenged Mariners, the 45-year-old version of the former Seattle ace was nearly enough.
Johnson had a shutout going for five innings – extending the Mariners’ scoreless streak to 21 innings – before Seattle scraped out a run in the sixth on a Lopez ground ball through the left side of the infield while chasing Johnson.
With an infield single in the fifth, Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
Mariners 2, Giants 1 (12)
|Griffey Jr. ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||.235|
E—F.Lewis (3), Burriss (3), Y.Betancourt (8). LOB—San Francisco 3, Seattle 17. HR—Rowand (5), off Vargas. RBIs—Rowand (18), Jo.Lopez 2 (21). SB—Rowand (2). CS—Sandoval (1). RLSP—San Francisco 1 (B.Molina); Seattle 6 (M.Sweeney, I.Suzuki 2, Johjima, Griffey Jr. 2). RMU—M.Sweeney, Balentien.
IR-S—Medders 3-0, Affeldt 1-0, Misch 1-1. IBB—off Howry (Branyan). T—3:55. A—38,520 (47,878).
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