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Complete effort: Guthrie pitches 9

The Baltimore Sun

SEATTLE - Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie got off to a rocky start, allowing three of the first five Seattle Mariners he faced to reach base and quickly giving back a one-run lead.

But there certainly was nothing wrong with how he finished the Orioles' 3-1 victory over the Mariners before an announced 30,502 at Safeco Field. Guthrie retired 26 of the next 28 batters he faced in the first complete game of his major league career, which was secured when Jay Payton made a leaping catch at the wall in left field for the game's final out..

It was the fifth win in the past six games for the Orioles (53-56) and their eighth win in nine games against Seattle this year. They'll go for the series sweep this afternoon behind Daniel Cabrera.

A night after Garrett Olson came two outs away from a complete-game shutout against the Mariners, Guthrie (8-8) pitched nine dominating innings, allowing just four hits and a walk. Two of those hits - doubles by Jeremy Reed and Raul Ibanez - and the walk came in the first inning.

After that, Guthrie surrendered only an infield single to Jose Vidro with two outs in the fourth and a bunt single to Ichiro Suzuki with two outs in the eighth. He threw 94 pitches in eight innings, tying the Orioles' longest start of the season.

The Orioles battled Felix Hernandez, scoring two runs, but most importantly, working his pitch count up to the point where the young right-hander could only go five innings.

Hernandez, who allowed eight hits and walked two while striking out six, retired Luke Scott with the bases loaded on his 109th pitch to get out of the fifth.

Sean Green relieved him and pitched a scoreless sixth. However after getting the first out of the seventh, Green allowed an infield single to Adam Jones, his third hit of the night, and then walked Nick Markakis.

Seattle manager Jim Riggleman brought on left-hander Cesar Jimenez, who got the second out without throwing the ball to home plate. Jimenez picked off Markakis at first base. Aubrey Huff salvaged the inning by hitting a bloop single to right field, easily scoring Jones from second base. It was Huff's second hit of the game, and it gave him 73 RBIs this season.

The Orioles did exactly what they wanted to do in the first inning against Hernandez, taking a lot of pitches and making the young right-hander work for everything.

Jones got the inning started with a single, and he moved to second on Markakis' groundout. Hernandez walked Huff and then Melvin Mora, two pitches after bouncing a ball off his midsection, lined a double past outstretched first baseman Bryan LaHair and down the right-field line. It scored Jones easily and put men on second and third with two outs.

Hernandez got Scott to fly out to end the Orioles' threat, but he needed 37 pitches to get out of the inning.

Guthrie also struggled to get out of the first and gave up the Orioles' lead in the process. Reed drove a one-out double into right-center and scored on Ibanez's double to left field. Guthrie walked Adrian Beltre but then retired the next two Mariners to end the inning without further damage.

That started a stretch where Guthire retired 10 straight Mariners before Vidro reached on an infield single with two outs in the fourth inning.

The game was tied at 1 until the top of the fourth. Mora hit a leadoff single and moved to second on Kevin Millar's single to center field. Ramon Hernandez then dumped a broken-bat single into right field, scoring Mora. Millar was thrown out trying to get to third.

The Orioles had a chance to extend their lead in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. However, Felix Hernandez got Mora to swing through an 84 mph changeup and then retired Scott on a ground ball.

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