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Monday, June 5, 2006 - Page updated at 09:44 PM

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Meche, Ibanez push M's past Royals

The Associated Press

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SEATTLE – Gil Meche allowed one run and four hits in seven innings and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run single, lifting the Seattle Mariners past the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Monday night.

Meche broke a two-game losing streak and denied the lowly Royals a chance to finish their longest road trip of the season at .500. Kansas City went 4-6 on its 10-game trip, after winning two of its first 20 road games this season.

Seattle took three of four in the series.

In seven of his last nine starts, Meche (5-4) has allowed three earned runs or less. He struck out six and walked two. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his eighth save in nine attempts.

Kansas City starter Mike Wood (3-1) was inserted into the rotation after the Royals' moved struggling right-hander Denny Bautista to the bullpen over the weekend.

Making his second start of the season, Wood looked the part of a seasoned starter, scattering four hits through five innings and allowed only one base runner past first. Ibanez was stranded at third in the second inning.

Seattle finally got to Wood in the sixth and knocked the righty from the game. Ichiro Suzuki doubled on the first pitch of the inning. He was thrown out at third trying to advance on Adrian Beltre's grounder to short, but Jose Lopez followed with a double to left, and Kansas City manager Buddy Bell pulled Wood.

Lefty Jimmy Gobble entered to face the left-handed Ibanez. Gobble fell behind 3-1 before Ibanez grounded a single to center scoring Beltre and Lopez. Left-handers had been hitting .176 against Gobble.

Ibanez was 3-for-3 after missing Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms.

In the eighth, Lopez doubled with two outs to score Yuniesky Betancourt and Richie Sexson followed with a single to score Lopez for a 4-1 lead.

The Royals put together a brief rally in the seventh, with consecutive singles by Matt Stairs and Shane Costa. Stairs scored on Mark Teahen's groundout to second — a sliding stop by Lopez — and Meche got out of the inning with a pop out by Angel Berroa and a strikeout of John Buck.

David DeJesus walked to lead off the eighth against reliever George Sherrill, but Rafael Soriano entered and struck out Tony Graffanino, Doug Mientkiewicz and Reggie Sanders to end the inning.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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