Mariners 11, Indians 9

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CLEVELAND (AP) – Richie Sexson’s grand slam put Seattle comfortably ahead and the Mariners beat Cleveland 11-9 on Wednesday night to snap a four-game slide and end the Indians’ winning streak at six.

Sexson hit his 10th career slam in the sixth inning off reliever Danny Graves to make it 10-5 as the Mariners cooled off Cleveland, which hadn’t lost since opening day in Chicago.

Raul Ibanez went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, and Ichiro Suzuki snapped an 0-for-18 slump with three singles and scored four runs for Seattle, which knocked starter Paul Byrd (1-1) out in the fourth.

Casey Blake had four RBIs for Cleveland and Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer, moving into a tie for the major league lead with his sixth of the season. The Indians, despite some horrific baserunning, were still within 6-5 in the sixth.

But Graves gave up two singles and his wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out before Indians manager Eric Wedge decided to take his chances and walk Ibanez intentionally to face Sexson.

The strategy backfired – instantly. Sexson ripped Graves’ first pitch over the 19-foot-high wall in left field for his second homer, staking the Mariners to a five-run lead.

Hafner’s homer brought Cleveland within 10-7 in the seventh, but the Indians couldn’t overcome some early mistakes. In the first inning, they had two runners caught off base and thrown out on one play.

Ibanez hit an RBI double in the eighth to put the Mariners up 11-7.

Eddie Guardado worked the ninth for his first save. Hafner singled and scored on an error but Guardado struck out Ronnie Belliard and got Aaron Boone to pop out with two runners on to end it.

Except for giving up Hafner’s homer, Jake Woods (1-0) pitched well in relief of starter Gil Meche. The left-hander allowed two runs and two hits in three innings.

Trailing 6-3, the Indians scored twice in the fourth, and if not for an unlucky bounce and break, they would have tied it.

Blake’s single scored Ben Broussard and Grady Sizemore’s shot inside the first-base line brought in Belliard. Sizemore’s ball appeared to be headed for the right-field corner, but it struck umpire Tim McClelland behind the bag and caromed to second baseman Jose Lopez.

Blake, thinking Sizemore had extra bases, kept digging for third and was thrown out easily by Lopez.

Ibanez, playing in his 195th consecutive game for the Mariners, hit an RBI triple in the fourth to make it 6-3 and chase Byrd.

Three walks – two to open the inning – by Byrd helped the Mariners score four runs – three on Kenji Johjima’s double – in the third and open a 5-3 lead.

Blake has been Mr. Clutch so far this season, and he came through again in Cleveland’s three-run second.

The Indians loaded the bases off Meche, who got Boone to hit into a force at the plate but followed it up with a wild pitch that tied it at 1. Blake’s two-run single made it 3-1.

Last year, Blake batted .085 (5-for-59) with runners in scoring position and two outs. With the single, he improved to 4-for-5 (.750) in 2006.

The Mariners came in a combined 5-for-64 (.078) in the first five innings during their four-game skid. But they wasted no time scoring against Byrd, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first on Ibanez’s RBI single.

Notes: Sexson is tied for ninth on the active list for career grand slams. Carlos Delgado, Steve Finley and Jason Giambi also have hit 10. Manny Ramirez’s 20 slams are the most among current players. … Ichiro has the second highest career average (.350) among active players against Cleveland. Only Nomar Garciaparra’s .369 is better. Ichiro’s average is also fifth all-time against the Indians, trailing Oddibe McDowell (.405), Garciaparra (.369), Rod Carew (.363) and Leon Wagner (.350).

AP-ES-04-12-06 2216EDT

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