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Byrd remains unbeaten against M's in career

SEATTLE (AP) -- The faltering Seattle Mariners are falling out of
the AL West race.

Raul Ibanez drove in four runs with a pair of doubles against
his former team, leading Paul Byrd and the Kansas City Royals over
the Mariners 5-1 Friday night.

A crowd of 45,260 saw the third-place Mariners lose for the
fifth time in seven games.

Frustrated Seattle manager Lou Piniella watched his defending
division champs fall to 24-23 since the All-Star break, when they
led Anaheim by three games and Oakland by five.

The Athletics, who have won 16 in a row, lead the Mariners by
five games, while Anaheim is 1½ in front of Seattle.

"I don't know what I can do,'' Piniella said. "I've played
about everybody I have here. We're just going to have to fight out
of this thing.''

Ichiro Suzuki, last season's AL MVP in his first year with the
Mariners, also didn't have any answers.

"If I had the answer for you, we'd already have a win,'' Suzuki
said through a translator.

Ibanez, who left Seattle and signed with the Royals as a minor
league free agent after the 2000 season, doubled to center field in
the first and fifth innings.

Ibanez, one of baseball's biggest bargains at $800,000 this
season, said he wasn't especially satisfied to beat his former
team.

"I'm just happy first that we're playing baseball,'' he said,
referring to the fact that a baseball strike was averted Friday.
"And second that we won the game.''

Byrd (15-10) beat Seattle for the second time this season and
improved his career record to 3-0 against the Mariners.

Bret Boone accounted for the Mariners' run with his 22nd homer
in the second.

Byrd was taken out after giving up two-out singles to Mike
Cameron and Carlos Guillen in the eighth. In 7 2/3 innings, he
allowed one run on 10 hits and two walks, with three strikeouts.

Byrd broke a personal three-game losing streak with his first
victory since July 29.

"Tonight we scored some runs and we pitched well,'' said Byrd,
who has been a victim of low run support for the last month. "I've
pitched well and we weren't scoring. Tonight we did it the way we
should.''

In his previous five starts, Byrd's ERA was 3.72.

Jason Grimsley got four outs for his first save of the season.

The Royals, who had lost three in a row and six out of seven,
got two runs in the first on Carlos Beltran's single and Mike
Sweeney's walk off Freddy Garcia (14-10) followed by Ibanez's
double.

Kansas City made it 4-1 in the fifth on a single by Beltran,
Sweeney's single off Garcia's glove and another double by Ibanez.

Chuck Knoblauch homered for the Royals in the ninth.

Garcia, Seattle's No. 1 starter, allowed four runs on seven hits
and three walks in seven innings. He is 3-5 with a 6.18 ERA in 10
starts since the All-Star break.

The Mariners were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and
they left 10 men on base. They're 0-for-21 since Desi Relaford's
RBI double Tuesday night in Minnesota.

Seattle outhit Kansas City 10-9.

"Of course, there are a lot of frustrations when you lose a
game when you have a lot of hits,'' Suzuki said.

Piniella agreed.

"We're getting a lot of hits,'' he said. "We're getting the
base runners. One of these days we'll get them in.''

Sweeney went 1-for-3 with a walk to keep his AL-leading average
at .344, two points ahead of Bernie Williams of the New York
Yankees.

Game notes
Ibanez is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with two homers and six
RBI against the Mariners this season. Against Garcia, he is
5-for-7 (.714) lifetime. ... The Royals are now 4-2 against Garcia.
They're the only team with a winning record against him. ... Byrd
surrendered his 30th homer in the season, the second most in the
AL. Ramon Ortiz of Anaheim has given up 35. ... Byrd has a 1.72 ERA
against Seattle this season and 1.46 in his career. ... Byrd got
his 50th career win. ... Byrd 15 wins matched his career high for a
season. He also won 15 games with Philadelphia in 1999. He's the
first Kansas City pitcher to win 15 games since Tim Belcher in
1997. The last time a Royals pitcher won 16 games was David Cone in
1994. ... The Royals are 2-2 against the Mariners this season. They
were 3-6 against Seattle in 2001, when the Mariners tied the major
league record with 116 victories.