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Soriano's homer for Cubs beats Mariners in 11th

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- For the second straight night, the Chicago Cubs allowed a game to get to extra innings after their bullpen proved unable to hold a late lead.

Alfonso Soriano made it sure it didn't result in their second consecutive loss to the Seattle Mariners. Soriano hit a two-run home run off Oliver Perez in the 11th inning Saturday as the Cubs earned a 5-3 victory.

The Mariners had rallied to tie the game 3-3 in the ninth inning. Endy Chavez snapped a 0-for-19 skid with a two-out RBI single off Cubs closer Kevin Gregg to score Michael Saunders and send the game to extra frames.

Nate Schierholtz led off the 11th inning with a bunt single off Perez (2-2). Soriano followed with a blast over the center field fence to give the Cubs (34-45) a two-run cushion.

Perez had struck out Soriano in the Mariners' 5-4 victory on Friday night. With no one on base, Soriano said Perez's demonstrative windup gave him trouble trying to pick up the ball out of his hand.

With Schierholtz at first Saturday, though, Perez had to pitch from the stretch and Soriano felt more confident seeing the ball at the plate.

"Today with somebody at first, he (didn't) do that kind of move," Soriano said. "I had more concentration and see the ball. I see the ball and I make a good swing."

The home run by Soriano snapped a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless appearances by Perez.

"Soriano just caught up to a fastball -- a fastball down," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He got to it and drove it the other way."

Blake Parker earned his first major-league save pitching a scoreless 11th inning. Carlos Villanueva (2-4) earned the victory in relief for Chicago.

The Mariners (35-46) blew a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning. Kendrys Morales singled with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Jason Bay, who was thrown out trying to steal second.

Raul Ibanez subsequently doubled and Justin Smoak followed with a single, but Ibanez was thrown out at the plate by Brian Bugosevic as the Cubs maintained a one-run lead.

Seattle rallied to tie the game in the ninth. Henry Blanco -- pinch-hitting for pitcher Charlie Furbush -- drew a one-out walk and was replaced by Saunders. After a groundout allowed Saunders to advance to second, Chavez singled to center to drive in the tying run.

"We fought back, but we're still looking to have more consistent at-bats," Wedge said.

Jeff Samardzija pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs on six hits for the Cubs.

"Great start," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "After a solo home run, to give up one and have (113) pitches and power his way through that last inning, it was huge."

Starlin Castro gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run to center field off Mariners starter Aaron Harang.

Seattle jumped on top with a pair of runs in the second. Smoak hit a solo home run of his own to right field to even the score at 1-1. After a double from Mike Zunino, Dustin Ackley singled to left field. A fielding error by Bugosevic allowed Zunino to score and give Seattle a 2-1 lead.

Harang went eight innings, allowing three runs on five hits.

NOTES: Both teams wore throwback uniforms. The Cubs wore uniforms designed after their uniforms from the early 1900s. The Mariners wore uniforms based on the 1909 Northwest League champion Seattle Turks. ... Mariners 2B Nick Franklin was held out of the starting lineup with a stiff neck before entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. Brad Miller started in his place, and Brendan Ryan started at shortstop. ... Cubs CF Ryan Sweeney was lifted from the game in the fourth inning and replaced by CF Julio Borbon. Sweeney left the game with sore ribs. ... Ackley left with a sprained left thumb after diving for a ball in the ninth inning. Bay pinch-ran and then entered defensively to take right field. Chavez moved to center. Because Bay pinch-ran for Morales, the Mariners lost the designated hitter for the remainder of the game. ... Saunders was available only as a pinch-runner after having his right hand stepped on in Friday night's win over the Cubs. ... Gregg's blown save was his first of the season. He had been a perfect 12-for-12.
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