Balentien Fills in for Chavez, Mariners Win

Arizona DiamondbacksChris WoodwardMike SweeneySeattle Mariners

Wladimir Balentien hit his first home run innearly two months, and Jason Vargas retired 17 straight Arizonabatters at one point in the Mariners' 7-3 win over the Diamondbackson Saturday night.

Mike Sweeney broke a 2-2 tie with a bases loaded sacrifice flyin the seventh, and Franklin Gutierrez added an RBI single asSeattle won for the fourth time in five games.

Vargas (3-2), a piece of the three-team, 12-player trade generalmanager Jack Zduriencik pulled off during last year's WinterMeetings, again displayed the talent that'll likely keep him partof Seattle's future plans.

The Mariners found out Saturday they will be without outfielderEndy Chavez for the rest of the season after sustaining a seriousright knee injury in a violent collision with shortstop YunieskyBetancourt Friday night.

Before the game, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu wondered ifBalentien would take advantage of the opportunity, or if theorganization would need to look for another outfield option.

For one night, Balentien showed he's serious. He singled in thesecond inning, then caught up to Arizona starter Billy Buckner'shigh fastball on an 0-2 count, driving a solo homer into theoutfield bullpen in the fourth.

It was Balentien's second homer of the season and first sinceApril 25 against the Los Angeles Angels. He started the day hittingjust .223 and had just six hits in his previous 50 at-bats. Hislast multi-hit game came on May 15.

Balentien also leaped into the crowd to make a backhanded catchfor the final out.

Billy Buckner (2-4) struck out a career-high seven for Arizona,but lost his third straight. He gave up nine hits and four earnedruns.

Tied 2-all in the seventh, Betancourt and Suzuki opened withsingles and Russell Branyan was hit by a pitch to load the bases.Sweeney hit a one-out fly to deep left field to easily score Suzukiwith the go-ahead run, and Gutierrez then dribbled a single tocenter to score Branyan.

Betancourt added some insurance in the eighth with a two-rundouble off the center field wall to score Chris Woodward and RobJohnson, who slid over Betancourt's bat to score.

Sean White pitched the eighth, but gave up an RBI single toUpton in the ninth. David Aardsma got out of the jam for his 14thsave in 15 chances.

Bouncing back from his last outing when he gave up 12 hits andseven earned runs in Colorado, Vargas stymied the Diamondbacksfollowing a wacky first inning.

After Justin Upton's one-out single in the first, Vargas retiredthe next 17 batters. Upton broke the string when he clubbed Vargas'first pitch of the seventh inning for his 13th homer of the season,but Vargas escaped the inning without further damage.

Other than Upton's two hits, Vargas allowed just a leadoffsingle to Felipe Lopez in the first. Vargas struck out four andwalked none.Notes: Branyan grounded into his first double play of the season inthe eighth, but Betancourt scored on the play. ... Suzuki gatheredanother three hits and is hitting .352. ... Washington's men's crewteam that won the national rowing championships earlier this monthwas honored before the game and threw out the first pitch.

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