Washburn fans nine Yankees as Mariners roll

SEATTLE (AP) -- Jarrod Washburn was so good he reminded the
opposing pitcher of a former Mariners ace.

Washburn continued his Yankee taming by allowing just six hits
and striking out a season-high nine in the Mariners' 4-2 win over
New York on Thursday night.

"He looked like Randy Johnson out there. The only thing that
was missing was the Kingdome roof out there," the Big Unit said,

Two RBI each from Jose Lopez and Richie Sexson also helped
Seattle rebound from a franchise-worst 0-11 road trip for its first
home series win over New York since April 7-9, 2000.

The Yankees lost for the second time on their eight-game road
trip and saw their AL East lead cut to 5½ games over Boston --
despite Johnson's second complete game of the season and 98th of
his career. Johnson (14-10) allowed four runs and seven hits.

"Randy was great," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Washburn (7-12) was better. He allowed six hits, two runs and
two walks in 6 1/3 innings. With two runners on, he struck out
Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi in succession to end the third inning.

The New York shutdown was a revelation in this lost Mariners
season. It wasn't one for Washburn.

He and Pedro Martinez are the only pitchers who have a career
ERA under 3.00 against the Yankees over a minimum of seven starts
since 1999. Washburn, whom Seattle signed from the Angels for $37.5
million and four years last December, is 4-3 with a 2.59 ERA in
eight starts against New York.

He has allowed three earned runs in two starts against the
Yankees this season.

"I'm aggressive with my fastball," Washburn said. "It's like
facing an All-Star team with their lineup. So maybe some guys tend
to be tentative when they pitch to them. But I don't."

Washburn left after two hard drives in the seventh. Ichiro
Suzuki, playing center field for the fifth time this season, raced
to the warning track to make an exquisite, leaping, stretching
catch of Nick Green's drive.

"I don't know you'll ever see a better catch then that,"
Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.

Johnny Damon hit Washburn's next pitch into the second row of
the right-field bleachers for his career-high 21st home run of the
season and eighth this month. That made it 4-2.

But Julio Mateo and George Sherrill were perfect in finishing
the seventh and eighth innings. And J.J. Putz was perfect in the
ninth for his 26th save in 31 chances, striking out ailing
pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez to end it. Rodriguez angrily slapped
his bat on his fruitless swing's follow-through.

Johnson wasn't as sharp early as Washburn, though the Mariners
didn't exactly pound Johnson during their decisive, three-run third

Chris Snelling lined a double over third base. After Willie
Bloomquist squibbed an infield single that spun inside the
first-base line, Lopez fought off an inside, 0-2 fastball for a
single that scored Snelling to break a 1-1 tie.

Sexson followed with a two-run double.

Johnson only allowed a seventh-inning single after that.

"How much better can I do?" Johnson said.

Lopez had given Seattle a 1-0 lead when he singled home Suzuki,
who had doubled leading off the first inning.

Derek Jeter's RBI single scored Craig Wilson in the third inning
to briefly tie the game.

New York had four base runners in the fourth inning but did not
score. Catcher Kenji Johjima picked Robinson Cano off first base
after he had singled. And after Washburn hit Green with a pitch to
load the bases, Snelling made a running catch in left field on a
Damon liner to end the inning.

Game notes
Rodriguez still felt the throat infection that caused him
to stay at the team hotel during Wednesday's game. He expects to
start Friday at the Los Angeles Angels ... An MRI on Seattle RHP
Mark Lowe showed inflammation in his right elbow but no ligament
damage. "Great news," said Lowe, who feared surgery. Team doctors
are prescribing indefinite amount of rest. Lowe, promoted from
Double-A on July 7, has allowed four earned runs in his first 18
2-3 innings in the major leagues (1.93 ERA).