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Ichiro drives Mariners to 9-3 win

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Ichiro Suzuki lined the 29th leadoff homer of his career into the right-field seats and finished a triple short of the cycle, and the Seattle Mariners gave starter Jarrod Washburn his first win in more than two months, 9-3 over the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon.

Suzuki hit the third pitch from San Diego starter Wade LeBlanc (0-1) for his sixth homer of the season. He added a double in the second and single in the fourth, but grounded out and reached on an infield hit in his final two at-bats. It was his third four-hit game of the season.

Rob Johnson added a three-run double in Seattle’s four-run first, Wladimir Balentien hit a solo homer in the fifth and Mike Sweeney had four hits as the Mariners finally gave Washburn (4-5) some run support.

The Mariners took two of three from the Padres and have won seven of their last eight series. Seattle is two games above .500 (37-35) entering a brutal nine-game road trip at the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox that very well may determine how long the Mariners continue contending in the AL West.

Seattle headed for the road after taking full advantage of LeBlanc, making just his second start this season.

Suzuki got the offense started, followed by Adrian Beltre’s single and Sweeney’s double. After Franklin Gutierrez, who has four homers this season against San Diego, was intentionally walked, Johnson came through. The young catcher was just 1 for 13 on the homestand, but drove the first pitch from LeBlanc to the wall in left-center easily scoring all three runners.

Seattle added another run in the fifth when Ronny Cedeno executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score Gutierrez from third and Balentien followed with his towering homer into the second deck in left field. Sweeney added a two-run single in the eighth.

This was an offensive outburst Washburn isn’t use to. Averaging just 4.27 runs of support in his Mariners’ career — lowest among AL starters — Washburn worked liberally. He gave up hits and allowed runners in scoring position in four of his six innings, but kept the Padres scoreless until Chase Headley’s two-run homer in the sixth.

Washburn allowed six hits and struck out six, winning for the first time since April 21. He was 0-2 in his previous five starts, despite a 2.25 ERA.

Edgar Gonzalez added a solo homer in the seventh for San Diego, who loaded the bases with two outs but Kevin Kouzmanoff flew out to Suzuki to end the threat.

San Diego outfielder Scott Hairston and manager Bud Black both were ejected in the first inning by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson. Hairston started toward first after a 3-2 pitch from Washburn appeared high and outside. But Hudson emphatically punched out Hairston, triggering a few choice words from the Padres No. 3 hitter. It didn’t take many before Hairston was tossed, and Black’s ejection was moments later when he started arguing with Hudson as well.

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