Mariners Wrap Up Homestand with a Win

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Jamie Burke walked into the Seattle Mariners'clubhouse Sunday morning and was greeted by smiling teammates happyto see the 37-year old catcher back in the majors.

What he did on the field had them all standing and cheering.

Often praised by Mariners pitchers for his ability to call agame, Burke showed his bat can occasionally provide a spark, too.He singled in his first at-bat since being called up from Triple-ATacoma and added a solo homer off Minnesota Twins starter KevinSlowey in Seattle's 4-2 victory.

"It was nice to see him this morning," Mariners pitcher ErikBedard said. "He came here this morning and he was catching rightoff the bat."

Jose Lopez and Russell Branyan also homered for the Mariners,who took two of three from Minnesota and have won three consecutiveseries. Lopez finished with three hits, including an RBI double.

Burke was designated for assignment by the Mariners on May 1 andsent outright to the minors on May 5 after clearing waivers. Withstarting catcher Kenji Johjima on the disabled list with a brokentoe and backup Rob Johnson out for a few days with an injured leftfoot, the Mariners were left with only one available catcher ontheir active roster, Guillermo Quiroz.

Caught short-handed, the team chose to bring up Burke anddesignate reliever Denny Stark for assignment before Sunday's game.

"You can't get discouraged," Burke said. "There are a lot ofgood catchers in this organization. A lot of guys can play at thislevel and just never know who's going to get the call, and I wasn'tdiscouraged at all. It's just part of the game."

Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu wasted no time in putting Burkein the lineup.

"He has a history with Erik and we knew there was a comfortlevel there and I think they didn't miss a beat," Wakamatsu said."He did a phenomenal job."

Burke caught many of Bedard's starts last season and the twodeveloped a strong relationship.

"I thought he had some good stuff," Burke said. "He threw theball well. He battled for us."

Bedard (5-2) went five innings, allowing two runs and four hits.The Twins worked him into several full counts and were able to drawfour walks from the left-hander.

"I thought we worked Bedard about as good as you can workhim," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We forced him tothrow pitches. We did our job working him, we just never came upwith the big hit against him."

Seattle's bullpen combined for four shutout innings, with SeanWhite earning his first career save.

Both teams struggled to hit with runners in scoring positionduring the series, culminating with an 0-for-17 combinedperformance on Sunday.

"That is why you lose baseball games and why we are strugglingon the road, because we are just not hitting with men out there,"Gardenhire said.

Branyan gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead with a first-inning homer.He fouled off three consecutive pitches with a full count beforedriving the ball over the center-field fence.

Slowey (8-2) has allowed five homers in two starts againstSeattle this season. Branyan and Lopez each connected off him April8.

Adrian Beltre opened the third with a single and scored fromfirst on Lopez's one-out double.

Denard Span drew a leadoff walk for Minnesota in the fifth andJoe Mauer doubled, sending Span to third. Justin Morneau hit an RBIgroundout, with Lopez making a sliding stop at second. Joe Credefollowed with a sacrifice fly, tying it at 2.

Lopez put Seattle in front again with a leadoff homer in thebottom half before Burke's shot made it 4-2.Notes: Seattle Seahawks first-round draft pick LB Aaron Currythrew out the first pitch. ... It was the second time in his careerSlowey allowed three home runs in a game. The last time was June17, 2007, against Milwaukee. ... Twins SS Brendan Harris extendedhis career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a double in thesixth. ... Mauer and Morneau combined to go 3 for 23 in the series.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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