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M's sweep Padres on strength of eight-run second

SEATTLE (AP) -- After 45 games, the Seattle Mariners finally have
two things they haven't had all season.

A series sweep and a positive vibe.

Raul Ibanez and Carl Everett each homered during an eight-run
second inning Sunday as the Mariners held on to beat San Diego
10-8, the third consecutive win for the last place team in the AL
West the previous two seasons.

"We had a great attitude this weekend. You could feel a good
vibe going," Ibanez said.

He added that vibe was "definitely" better than it's been all
season.

"At the same time, it's only three games," he said.

The Mariners' biggest inning in nearly three full seasons
included a squeeze bunt for an RBI by Yuniesky Betancourt, a play
no one in Seattle can remember seeing. That gave the Mariners a 3-1
lead.

The Padres, who began May by going 13-1, were swept in a series
for the third time in their streaky season.

"They are a good team, and I think when things were going bad
for them it was bound to even out," said San Diego catcher Josh
Bard. "It's kind of frustrating that we were the team they came
across to even it out."

Bard, catching for the third straight game while Mike Piazza was
the designated hitter, hit a home run off Rafael Soriano that
banged off the second deck facing to rally the Padres to within
10-8 in the eighth inning.

But J.J. Putz completed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save. He
saved all three games in series.

When asked if winning three from what had been the NL West's
first-place team signaled a turnaround for his Mariners, manager
Mike Hargrove shook his head no, not yet.

"But it beats the alternative," he said.

The Mariners lost all three games of a series that ended
Thursday at Oakland. That dropped them to a season-low eight games
under .500 and into a 57-minute postgame team meeting when the
series ended.

Now, there's some hope. Next up is Baltimore, followed by
Minnesota. Both are below .500.

"Things are clicking right now," Hargrove said.

Not for Park, who had entered the game having allowed one earned
run in his previous 22 innings. That made the Padres think he was
returning to the ace form from his Los Angeles Dodgers days of five
years ago.

Think again. Park allowed 10 earned runs in 5 1-3 innings, the
most earned runs he had allowed since June 21, 1998, for the
Dodgers at Colorado.

"All I could do is get more innings to save the bullpen," Park
(2-2) said.

His troubles began when he gave up four straight singles to
start the second inning and give Seattle a 2-1 lead. After
Betancourt's bunt, Ichiro Suzuki added a run-scoring single to
extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Ibanez then golfed a low
change-up for a three-run homer to make it 7-1. Everett added a
solo shot to finish off the inning.

Park walked Richie Sexson with the bases loaded in the sixth to
force in Seattle's ninth run. Then Everett singled home Suzuki to
make it 10-7, after San Diego had erased all but one run of the
Mariners' 8-1 lead.

That was because Felix Hernandez's problems continued.

Hernandez (3-5) was in control with an 8-3 lead two outs into
the sixth inning. But Geoff Blum's swinging strike three was a wild
pitch past catcher Kenji Johjima. Adrian Gonzalez then singled.
Blum and Gonzalez both scored on Josh Barfield's bloop double past
diving center fielder Jeremy Reed. That made it 8-5.

Two pitches later, Dave Roberts hit his first home run of the
season to bring San Diego within 8-7.

Hernandez, the 2005 rookie phenom, allowed a career-high seven
runs in his six innings. He allowed 10 runs -- five earned -- in his
previous start, at Oakland.

Hargrove traced some of Hernandez's problems Sunday to him
twisting his right ankle while stumbling on a pitch to Brian Giles
in the third inning. The Mariners expect him to make his next
start.

Pitching coach Rafael Chaves and a trainer came out to check on
the 20-year old. He quickly waved them off, saying he was fine.

When asked what was encouraging about Hernandez right now,
Chaves said, "The fact we won the game was encouraging to me. His
teammates picked him up."

Hernandez said he appreciated the support.

The one thing he is concerned about after allowing 17 runs in
his last two starts?

"My luck," he said, smiling.

Game Notes
The Mariners' second inning was their biggest outburst
since a 10-run inning on Aug. 30, 2003 against Baltimore. ...
Suzuki's single in the second inning gave him the longest current
hit streak in the major leagues. The 15 games ties for the longest
in the AL this season. Cleveland's Casey Blake and Victor Martinez
have each had such streaks. ... Roberts' home run was his 20th in
574 major league games and first since last Oct. 8 in Game 3 of an
NL division series against St. Louis. ... A scoring change from
Saturday night's game gave Padres 2B Barfield a single in the
eighth inning, eliminated an error from Jose Lopez and charged two
additional earned runs to Seattle starter Gil Meche. That raised
Meche's ERA to 4.64.