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Bedard solid as Ichiro sets team record

Bedard solid as Ichiro sets team record

SEATTLE -- Erik Bedard faced his former team for the first time Tuesday and didn't seem to care.

While some might have looked into the Mariners' 8-2 win over Baltimore at Safeco Field and seen a sinister slice of competitive revenge in the form of Bedard's 6 1/3 innings, four hits, one run and seven strikeouts, it probably wasn't there. That's because when he's been healthy, Bedard's done it to everyone else in the American League, too.

"Bedard was really good," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I thought before the game that he might get a little nervous because he was facing his old team, and he wasn't."

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Bedard cracked a few smiles at his old mates and said he was expecting some text messages from a few Orioles after the game, but other than that, it was all business.

"It was the same as any other team," Bedard said. "The biggest thing today was that we scored runs."

Indeed they did.

Bedard got plenty of support Tuesday, starting with Ichiro Suzuki, who set a Mariners record by hitting in his 26th straight game when he led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield hit. He scored, along with Russell Branyan, on Jose Lopez's two-out, two-RBI double.

Seattle tacked on a run in the third on a Yuniesky Betancourt groundout, another in the fifth on a Ken Griffey Jr. double, and one more in the sixth on an Adrian Beltre single before blowing the game open with a three-run eighth that included home runs by Branyan and Griffey.

Griffey also had two doubles, Jose Lopez hit three doubles, matching a club record for doubles in a game, and Beltre went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. He now has multi-hit efforts in five of his last seven games after recording eight in his first 45.

And Branyan was placed in the No. 2 hole in the lineup for the first time this season and responded with a 2-for-4 night, his team-leading 12th homer and two RBIs.

Wakamatsu said after the game that at least for one night, the combination of Ichiro and Branyan and their high on-base percentage numbers achieved the goal of pressuring the Orioles defense consistently. Ichiro went 2-for-5 and is batting .353 this season.

"We were looking for some of these guys to step up, and they did tonight," Wakamatsu said. "We're never looking to say, 'I told you so,' but it was a different feel [to the lineup], and obviously the numbers supported that."

Bedard agreed, saying he felt aggressive pitching with a five-run lead early in the game, even though he ended up logging a season-high 112 pitches and walking his last two batters, loading the bases in the seventh before Sean White wiggled out of it.

"It feels good as a team," he said. "We need to show a more aggressive offense."

The Orioles, meanwhile, seemed to have had enough of their former southpaw. Melvin Mora, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, described Bedard as, "Nasty, nasty and nasty."

"That's the best curveball in baseball right now," Mora said. "There's no doubt about it, especially when you see the guy throwing 93-94 mph inside. With the breaking pitch going outside, there's no chance. If he hangs it, we'll be able to hit it. But he doesn't hang it too much."

Bedard, who came to the Mariners in a much-publicized trade in the 2007 offseason that netted Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones, closer George Sherrill and three pitching prospects, notched his fourth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.37.

He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts at Safeco and 11 times in his last 12 starts. His seven strikeouts in Tuesday's game marked the fifth time this season he has punched out seven or more batters.

"He pitched great, elevated his fastball," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "We've obviously seen him from the other side. The plan was to get him deep and up in the pitches. We felt like our chances were going to be limited."

And while the Mariners' chances of racking up 16 hits in a game might have seemed limited before Tuesday's barrage, the offense was more than welcome to a team ranked last in the AL in runs.

"Obviously, we weren't perfect," Wakamatsu said. "We stranded a few guys at third. But it's a step in the right direction."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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