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June 20, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Mariners break it open late for 7-3 win

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David Aardsma, pictured above, was a ninth-inning strikeout machine yet again as the victorious Mariners moved within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Texas Rangers, who lost in extras tonight.
The final score tonight was in no way indicative of how this game played out. Or, maybe it was. Let me explain. The Mariners owned the Arizona Diamondbacks in every facet right up to the seventh inning.
But at that point, it was still a tie game. That finally changed as Seattle scored five runs its final two trips to the plate, turning a nailbiter into a rare 7-3 rout.
Yuniesky Betancourt was all over the field tonight. He almost took out Franklin Gutierrez in center field on another pop fly, but give him his due on offense, he was a threat throughout the contest. Betancourt got on with a leadoff single in the seventh as the Mariners loaded the bases with none out, botched a squeeze attempt, then pushed two runs home on a Mike Sweeney sacrifice fly and a single up the middle by Franklin Gutierrez.
Betancourt then helped put things away in the eighth with a two-run double to center. A third run scored that inning on a Russell Branyan double-play grounder. Branyan is the final major league player to ground into a double-play this season among qualifying regulars with a minimum amount of games under their belts.
So, all that helped Jason Vargas get a much-deserved win. I say that because Vargas retired 17 in a row after an unearned first inning run given up. His only earned run allowed over seven innings came on a Justin Upton homer in the seventh.
Not too shabby.
Much prettier than the Seattle bats for most of this game. But the Mariners are a .500 team once again.
We’ll check on that Adrian Beltre situation. No word on any injury yet. There could be more to this than meets the eye.

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