Sexson ends slump, helps Mariners dump O's

SEATTLE (AP) -- Jarrod Washburn paid J.J. Putz the best
compliment he could think of for a closer. He compared Putz to his
former teammate Troy Percival, once a dominant reliever at the end
of games for the Angels.

That was how impressed Washburn was with Putz striking out the
side in the ninth inning of the Seattle Mariners' 7-4 victory over
the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

Putz has seven saves in eight chances for the Mariners, who have
won five of their last six.

"I hate to say J.J.'s got better stuff than Percy. But Percy
had a fastball. That's what he threw," Washburn said.

"J.J. has three pitches -- with that hard fastball, too."

Washburn got his first win in May and slumping Richie Sexson
drove in three runs for the Mariners. Washburn (3-5) allowed four
runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to get his first win since
April 26.

Sexson was in a 2-for-19 skid and batting .198 overall before he
grounded a single past shortstop Miguel Tejada in the first inning
to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. He then sliced a drive under the glove
of diving third baseman Melvin Mora for a two-run double in the
second that put Seattle ahead 6-0.

Sexson said he hopes the big game will help him turn things
around this season.

"I've done it my whole career," Sexson said, holding his
year-old son, Gavin, in his arms. "We talk about at the end of the
season, looking at the scoreboard and hopefully seeing the same
numbers are there."

Kris Benson (6-4), acquired in January from the New York Mets in
exchange for Jorge Julio, left after he allowed 11 Mariners to bat
in the second inning. Six of the seven runs he allowed in his two
innings were earned. He walked two and struck out three.

Yuniesky Betancourt doubled in two runs in the second and scored
on Ichiro Suzuki's double. Carl Everett drove in Sexson with a
single to put Seattle up 7-0.

"We are better than this," Benson said. "And we have to go
out there and prove it."

Manager Sam Perlozzo was so upset at his team's ninth loss in 11
road games, he held a postgame, closed-door meeting after the game.

"This was the first time I didn't think we put together a good
team effort out there in those first two innings," Perlozzo said.

"You can't let each other down very much by a lack of ... a
good, solid effort."

Immediately after Seattle's six-run second inning, Washburn
walked Brian Roberts, playing for the first time since going on the
disabled list on April 30 for a strained left hamstring. Mora then
drove a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence for his eighth home run
of the season.

Washburn, who signed a $37 million, four-year contract with
Seattle in the offseason, allowed a Mora single in the fifth before
Javy Lopez hit an 0-2 pitch about a dozen rows into the left-field
bleachers to make it 7-4.

"It felt like I was back in the minor leagues and didn't have a
clue how to throw strikes," Washburn said.

Putz took over the closer role earlier this season after Eddie
Guardado struggled. He had a limited pitching repertoire until
Guardado taught him a new, split-fingered fastball in spring
training. Now manager Mike Hargrove is talking about Putz
potentially remaining the closer for the rest of the season.

"I don't worry about that," Putz said. "The phone rings. They
tell you to get up. You go in there."

Game notes
On May 7 at Boston, Benson allowed nine earned runs in 4
1-3 innings. ... RHP Sean Green relieved out of a tired Seattle
bullpen and pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings to pave the way for
Putz. ... Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the AL's
longest this season. His career-high hitting streak is 23 games.
... This was Sexson's fifth multi-RBI game in 47 games. ... LHP
Kurt Birkins pitched four hitless innings in relief of Benson. He
walked two and struck out two.