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M’s offense erupts

Kenji Johjima watches his solo home run in the eighth inning. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Kenji Johjima watches his solo home run in the eighth inning. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Kirby Arnold Everett Herald

SEATTLE – Eventually, it all spills out.

Frustration. Joy. Tears. Milk.

And, for the Seattle Mariners, runs.

The Mariners washed away a week’s worth of offensive angst with a five-run seventh inning Sunday and beat the New York Yankees 10-3 at Safeco Field.

It not only gave the Mariners one victory in the four-game series, it ended a stretch of scoring that only a soccer team could appreciate. The Mariners had scored only seven runs in their previous five games. They hadn’t scored more than two in any of those.

The guy struggling as badly as any, catcher Kenji Johjima, went 2 for 4 with a fourth-inning double and an eighth-inning home run, plus a bruise on his left arm after being hit by a pitch during the five-run seventh.

After starting the homestand 1 for 13, Johjima put together his first multiple-hit game in a month and lifted his average to .248.

“Just lucky,” Johjima said, speaking in English. “I can feel good but no hits. Feel bad, three hits.”

The Mariners won the old-fashioned way Sunday. They got quality pitching – rookie Doug Fister held the Yankees to eight hits in seven innings to record his first major league victory – and their biggest offensive output since scoring 11 runs Aug. 9 against the Rays.

“His last start being his first (major league) start and this start being against the Yankees, it was very tough assignment,” Johjima said. “He stayed calm and he had a presence of mind. He had great stuff too.”

The Mariners got 15 hits, including three from second baseman Jose Lopez. He drove home two runs in the third inning to give the M’s a 2-1 lead, singled and scored in the fifth when the M’s scored twice to take a 4-3 lead, then hit an RBI double in the seventh when they broke the game open. Ichiro Suzuki drove home two runs in that inning with a high-chop single and shortstop Josh Wilson, who also finished with two hits, was hit by a pitch from reliever Alfredo Aceves with the bases loaded to get a stinging RBI.

“The momentum changed at that point and it seemed liked some guys loosened up,” manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Fister lived up to his reputation as a strike-thrower, not walking a hitter and getting truly burned only in the fourth inning by Nick Swisher’s two-run homer.

The victory was the Mariners’ 61st this season, matching their total all last year.

“It makes me think, ‘Man, we lost a lot of games last year,’ ” Ichiro said.

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