Mariners 7, Red Sox 1

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SEATTLE (AP)—Mariners rookie Bobby Madritsch was full of confidence—even against the streaking Boston Red Sox.

“I know that every time I go out there, I’m going to give our team a chance to win,” the left-hander said. “That’s the biggest thing. To go out there with confidence, and not looking at the names on people’s backs and what they did up to now.”

Madritsch pitched eight shutout innings and the Mariners ended a seven-game losing streak Thursday night with a 7-1 victory over Boston, dropping the Red Sox 3 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

The Yankees swept a doubleheader from Tampa Bay earlier in the day.

Madritsch has a 3.15 ERA in 11 games for the Mariners this season, the best among Seattle starters.

Manager Bob Melvin likes his 28-year-old pitcher’s competitiveness.

“I think he relishes pitching against those teams,” Melvin said. “I think he looks forward to that. He’s a battler out there. He wants to see how his stuff compares and this is the No. 1 scoring team in the American League; RBIs, runs, on base. This is the best offensive team in the American League.”

The Red Sox, who had won four in a row, 14 of 15 and 20 of 22, committed two errors that accounted for five unearned runs. A dropped fly ball by left fielder Manny Ramirez led to four unearned runs in the fifth.

“I just missed it, but at least I went hard out there,” Ramirez said. “You know something, mamma said there would be days like this.”

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki singled off Tim Wakefield’s glove in the first inning to break his own AL record for singles in a season. Suzuki, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, had 192 singles as a rookie in 2001. He also singled in the eighth and has 194 singles this season.

Suzuki went 2-for-4 to give him 229 hits. He is trying to break the major league record of 257 by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns in 1920. Suzuki has 23 games left. He leads the majors with a .378 batting average.

Both of Suzuki’s singles didn’t get out of the infield. That didn’t bother Suzuki, the Mariners’ All-Star right fielder who started at designated hitter for the first time this season.

Suzuki admitted he takes his share of kidding from opponents about his infield hits.

“There’s a lot of guys that joke with me about that, but there’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t and it’s not like I’m going to run any slower to first,” he said through a translator.

Mariners rookie Jose Lopez hit a two-run homer off Wakefield and had a pair of doubles against the knuckleballer.

But it was Madritsch (4-2) who stymied a Red Sox offense that averaged 6.7 runs in their previous 30 games. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out five, becoming the first Mariners starter to win since Aug. 22.

Orlando Cabrera homered off Scott Atchison in the ninth to ruin Seattle’s shutout bid.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first after Suzuki’s record-tying single off Wakefield’s glove. Suzuki stole second—his 34th of the season, second in the AL—and went to third on a passed ball before scoring on a throwing error by Wakefield on a pickoff attempt of Randy Winn at first. The run was unearned.

Seattle made it 3-0 in the third on Bret Boone’s RBI double and a run-scoring grounder by Greg Dobbs, making his first major league start at third base.

The Mariners expanded their lead to 7-0 with four unearned runs in the fifth after Ramirez let Dan Wilson’s fly ball go off his glove for a two-run error.

Raul Ibanez, who led off the inning with a single, scored from second. Jolbert Cabrera, who walked, scored from third on Ramirez’s sixth error of the season.

“Those things happen sometimes,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Manny just didn’t catch it. I feel tonight was more the aberration, though. Teams are going to make errors, but we are OK.”

Lopez, a 20-year-old shortstop called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 31, followed with his fourth major league home run in his 36th game with the Mariners.

Lopez faced a knuckleballer for the first time in his career. He had a good strategy at the plate, though.

“I wait for a knuckleball for three or four times in a row,” said Lopez, who hit his homer on a knuckleball and his doubles off a curveball and a fastball.

Wakefield (11-9) went 4 2-3 innings and gave up seven runs—two earned—on seven hits, three walks and two hit batters.

“I wasn’t getting the outs I needed to get,” he said. “I can’t explain it. I don’t know why.”

Boston’s Johnny Damon had his 11-game hitting streak snapped. His streak of scoring a run in 11 consecutive games also ended.

Notes

Wakefield tied Roger Clemens for the second-most appearances by a Red Sox pitcher at 383. Bob Stanley holds the mark at 637. … The Mariners and Red Sox are tied at 3 in their season series. … The Mariners scored first for the first time in 21 games. It was the first time they led from the start to the finish since Aug. 17. … Madritsch went eight innings for the third time in seven starts since being called up from Tacoma on July 21.

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