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Well-deserved headache

Well-deserved headache

SEATTLE -- Jose Lopez knew his former teammate, Joel Pineiro, was going to throw him fastballs.

That knowledge translated into a sweep -- and a headache.

Lopez's double in the 11th inning Wednesday scored Ichiro Suzuki from first base, pushing Seattle past Boston, 2-1, in front of 43,448 fans at Safeco Field. The win completed a three-game sweep against the Red Sox and helped the Mariners cut the Angels' lead in the American League West to five games.

Seattle entered the 11th with very few pitchers available, and after Ichiro walked with one out, Lopez stepped to the plate against former Mariner Pineiro.

Lopez knew that with Ichiro on first, Pineiro would give him mostly fastballs. Noticing that Manny Ramirez was playing close to the left-field line, Lopez slammed a 1-0 pitch into the left-center-field gap, beyond Ramirez's reach.

"I knew he was coming with a fastball, I was looking for a fastball, he threw it to me and I had to get it in the gap," Lopez said. "I [thought] I got a home run."

It wasn't a four-bagger, but it was good enough for the Mariners, who have won five straight games. Lopez's teammates mobbed him after the game, something that may have been more grueling than the three-hour, 46-minute game.

"My back hurts a little bit," Lopez said about being mobbed. "And I have a headache."

In a true pitchers' duel, Daisuke Matsuzaka stifled the Mariners through eight innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out eight.

Ichiro singled in that run, recording his first Major League hit off Dice-K in the third. Ichiro had previously been 0-for-6 against the right-hander, something he was well aware of.

"Of course [I knew it]," Ichiro said. "If I didn't know that, I would have a mental illness of not being able to remember things."

After allowing two hits and one run in the third, though, Matsuzaka shut down the Mariners and didn't allow a hit until Jose Guillen opened the eighth with a single.

Young Mariners pitcher Ryan Feierabend wasn't as flashy and didn't strike out nearly as many batters.

He didn't allow a run, either.

Feierabend shook off his last start, a forgettable outing against Cincinnati in which he allowed nine runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings, and kept the Red Sox scoreless in his five innings pitched.

"Once I got through that first inning, it was definitely a confidence builder," Feiereabend said. "The last time out against Cincinnati, I ended up giving up four in the first, and coming out and throwing up that zero in the first inning was definitely huge."

He cruised through the first 4 2/3 innings before working himself into some trouble. After recording the first two outs of the inning, Feierabend issued two walks and allowed a double, bringing Boston slugger David Ortiz up to bat with the bases loaded.

With a fastball up and away, though, Feierabend induced a ground ball to get Seattle out of the inning.

"That's exactly what we wanted to do," Feierabend said. "With the bases loaded, you want to try to get a ground ball or get them out in any way possible."

Manager Mike Hargrove said Feierabend will make his next start.

Ichiro came up just as big in the field, recording a career-high 11 putouts, which is the most by a Major Leaguer this season. One of those putouts, an over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track in the seventh, held Boston to just one run -- J.D. Drew tagging from third.

With as much running around as he did, it was a tiring game for Ichiro. But that's OK with him.

"I figured we had a day off tomorrow, so I have no problem with it," he said. "But if we had a game tomorrow, I probably wouldn't move around like that."

The Mariners' bullpen took it from there, shutting down the usually-potent Red Sox offense. In six innings, relievers Sean Green, George Sherrill, Brandon Morrow, J.J. Putz and Jason Davis allowed one run on two hits while striking out two.

Davis earned the win, improving to 2-0.

It may have been spread thin, but the bullpen never showed it.

"Our pitching, we were down to the nubs," Hargrove said. "Everybody we asked to come in and do a job came in and did a tremendous job, so yeah, it was a real team effort today, and it's good to see."

Everyone gave Hargrove something different, but it all added up to a win.

Green recorded four outs, allowing one hit. Sherrill was brought in for just one pitch, getting the left-handed Ortiz to fly out to center. Morrow worked four outs before Putz came in and worked the ninth, including an Ortiz strikeout.

Then Davis allowed just one hit through the final two innings, setting the stage for Lopez's heroics.

And his headache.

Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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