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Mariners drop 6th straight in 4-2 loss to Giants

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki grounds into a force out in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB baseball game, Friday, June 15, 2012, in Seattle. The Giants beat the Mariners, 4-2. Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki grounds into a force out in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB baseball game, Friday, June 15, 2012, in Seattle. The Giants beat the Mariners, 4-2. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
By Tim Booth
AP Sports Writer / June 16, 2012
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SEATTLE—After twice failing to come through with a chance to end some of Seattle's offensive woes, even Ichiro Suzuki wasn't immune from catching heat from manger Eric Wedge after a sixth straight loss on Friday night.

"We need him to do more. He's our most veteran guy and when he has those opportunities and we need him to step up," Wedge said. "We can't always put it on the kids. We need the guys that have been around to step up as well and obviously he has been here longer than anybody."

Ryan Vogelsong shut out Seattle for seven innings on Friday night, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera both homered and the San Francisco Giants opened a three-game interleague series with a 4-2 win over the Mariners, handing Seattle a sixth straight loss.

The Mariners bats were silent until the eighth inning when a pair of groundouts by Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez finally plated a pair of runs. But it was another miserable night for an offense that could not back up a serviceable performance from starting pitcher Jason Vargas.

"We need to do better against opposing starters. You have opportunities early you have to take advantage of them. Put one or two on the board and it takes the whole game -- feel, momentum," Wedge said. "We're doing a much better job on the road, that last trip in particular. We've got to get over the hump here."

Not only have the Mariners lost six straight, all at home, they're now owners of the worst home record by percentage in all of baseball. Gone is the optimism that accompanied the Mariners after a promising nine-game road trip where the offense showed signs of promise.

Now it's back to nights of wondering if Seattle will even get a run home.

Against Vogelsong (6-2) and the Giants, it took until the eighth inning. Suzuki had a chance with the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth to provide a big blow, but grounded into a fielders' choice that scored a run, but barely dented San Francisco's lead. Suzuki missed an opportunity earlier in the game with two runners on and just one out when he popped out on the infield.

Suzuki is not alone in struggling at the plate. Seattle has just 14 runs in the first seven games of its homestand that ends on Sunday. During the six-game skid, they're hitting just .200 as a team.

It didn't help that Jesus Montero ran Seattle out of a prime scoring chance in the second inning when he misjudged Michael Saunders' line drive to center field and was doubled off second base.

"I was ready to score, but they made a good play," Montero said. "It was like, you've got to make it home right now so we can tie the game, so I was running -- I'm not that fast -- so I was trying to get home. That was my goal."

Seattle also had two runners on in the fourth thanks to a pair of leadoff walks from Vogelsong, but couldn't advance the runners.

Vogelsong struck out six and walked three. He left after giving up a pair of hits to Dustin Ackley and Olivo to start the eighth, snapping a streak of 11 straight batters retired. Reliever Javier Lopez was greeted by a single from pinch-hitter Casper Wells to load the bases. Suzuki's groundout got one run in and reliever Sergio Romo got a groundout from Gutierrez that plated another, but the damage ended there.

Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances. The last eight times Vogelsong has gone to the mound, the Giants have come away with victories

"I said to these guys last year I didn't want to be the weak link in the rotation," Vogelsong said. "I'm just trying to go out there and feed off of them."

Posey's homer in the second reached the second deck in left field above the Giants bullpen and was his eighth homer of the season. Cabrera's sixth homer of the season didn't have the majestic arc of Posey's, but cleared the fence in left-center field by about a foot as Franklin Gutierrez was unable to chase it down.

The Giants hammered Vargas (7-6) for 10 hits, the most hits he's allowed this season. He had allowed nine hits in his previous two starts and has lost his last two outings.

"The last eight starts home runs are what's killed it," Vargas said. "They are disappointing, especially the two-strike homer early in the game."

Notes: Giants' RHP Tim Lincecum, who grew up in the Seattle suburbs and was a star in college at Washington, will take the Safeco Field mound for the first time on Saturday night trying to stop a personal five-game losing streak. Lincecum has not won since April 28. ... Seattle dropped Ackley to seventh in the batting order for the first time this season. Wedge said he wanted to balance the top of his order and not be so left-handed hitting heavy. ... Giants' 1B Brandon Belt saw his consecutive games with a homer streak end at three.

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