Vargas Solid In Rare Mariners Victory

St. Louis CardinalsSeattle MarinersErik BedardAlbert PujolsFelipe LopezIchiro Suzuki

Another off-night for the Seattle Mariners'offense? Jason Vargas and two relievers were stingy enough to makeit work.

Vargas stymied the St. Louis Cardinals into the eighth inningand Matt Holliday failed again in the clutch in a 2-1 victory thatprevented a three-game sweep on Wednesday night. The Marinersscored two or fewer runs for the seventh time in 13 games, winningfor the first time in that stretch.

"It was an unbelievably pitched game," manager Don Wakamatsusaid. "To me, he dominated an awfully good lineup, he took us deepinto the ballgame."

Holliday struck out on an 0-2 count on a ball in the dirtagainst Brandon League with the tying run at third to end theeighth, dropping his average to .194 with runners in scoringposition.

"That's the thing when you get ahead, you try and finish himoff with your strikeout pitch and not give him anything good,"League said. "You don't want him to put it in play."

Vargas (5-2) gave up a run on five hits in 7 2-3 innings, thesecond-longest outing of his career, and is 3-0 over his last eightstarts. He outpitched St. Louis rookie Jaime Garcia (6-3), who gaveup two runs on five hits in seven innings.

Albert Pujols barely missed homering on a drive off the top ofthe wall in left-center in the fourth, a ball that appeared to popin and out of left fielder Milton Bradley's glove.

"When I hit that ball, I thought it was definitely going to goa long way," Pujols said. "But it didn't. It could have beenworse, he could have grabbed that ball."

Garcia had been 3-0 in his previous six starts, and his ERAclimbed 10 points to 1.59.

"It's kind of one of those games that yes, we probably shouldhave come out with a win. Garcia pitched perfect," Pujols said."We just didn't put our hits together."

Ichiro Suzuki doubled and singled for his major league-leading32nd multihit game and second in the series, and extended hisinterleague hitting streak to 20 games. Suzuki singled off DennysReyes to open the eighth and stole second but was picked off byreliever Jason Motte.

Reyes has allowed nine consecutive batters to reach base, eighthits and a walk. In his last five appearances, he's allowed 10 hitsand six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

David Aardsma worked the ninth for his 14th save in 18 chances.Chone Figgins' fifth-inning single was the go-ahead hit for theMariners, who have won three of 13.

Pujols' near homer with one out in the fourth was the secondcall to undergo video review this season at Busch Stadium, both ofwhich confirmed the original ruling. Second base umpire FieldinCulbreth said the ball had fallen just short, immediately wavingthe safe sign.

Bradley barely missed a leaping catch on Pujols' drive, whichseemed to lose steam on a humid night. Pujols politickedunsuccessfully as he stood at second but eventually scored on RyanLudwick's sacrifice fly to tie it at 1.

The Mariners had three baserunners in the fourth, Garcia'stoughest inning, but needed Josh Wilson's disruptive slide atsecond to prevent an inning-ending double play on Ryan Langerhans'RBI grounder. Shortstop Brendan Ryan had to elevate and still gotstruck in the thigh.

"That was one of my better plays, just getting out of theway," Ryan said. "As soon as he hit it I thought it would wewould have to be perfect to get the double play."

Notes: Cardinals C Yadier Molina, the NL Gold Glove winner thelast two seasons, had two passed balls to double his season total.Both came on high pitches. ... Mariners LHP Erik Bedard (shoulder)threw 40 pitches in a simulated game. He's scheduled for a lightside session on Friday and then would make a three-inning rehabstart for Rookie-level Peoria next week. ... The other home runreviewed at Busch was a home run by Felipe Lopez on May 21 againstthe Angels. ... Mariners 3B Jose Lopez left after lining out in thesixth with mild patella tendinitis in his left knee. ... DavidFreese had three singles for St. Louis.

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