WASHINGTON (AP) - What a frustrating two nights the Seattle Mariners have had in the nation's capital.
First, they blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning to open the series. Then they allowed the Washington Nationals to score a pair of unearned runs in a 2-1 loss Wednesday night, squandering Erik Bedard's superb start.
``That's a game we definitely let get away from us,' shortstop Brendan Ryan said. ``It was a hard one last night. In its own way, it's just as difficult to swallow.'
The Nationals scored in the first and fourth with the help of errors against the game's top interleague pitcher to win for the 10th time in 11 games. Bedard (4-5) got a hard-luck loss, allowing three hits over six innings. His 10 strikeouts were his most since May 2008.
``No disrespect to these guys,' Ryan said, ``but EB is pitching his tail off out there and we've got to do something. You can't just score one run off ... you can't just score one run. I'll leave it at that.'
The Mariners were undone by three mistakes - a first-inning error by third baseman Chone Figgins, a fourth-inning throwing error by catcher Miguel Olivo, and a baserunning gaffe by Ichiro Suzuki that likely cost Seattle a run in the sixth.
Suzuki had reached on a comebacker that caromed off Washington starter John Lannan's left heel, then advanced to third on a throwing error by shortstop Ian Desmond. But Suzuki then was tagged out at home trying to score on a short grounder to third, a miscue that proved especially damaging when Franklin Gutierrez followed with a two-out single.
``We didn't do much offensively,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``We had some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of.'
The win puts the Nationals at .500 for the first time since May 11. The franchise hasn't been at break-even this late in the season since finishing with a .500 record in 2005, its inaugural season in Washington.
Lannan (5-5) allowed three hits and one run over 5 2-3 innings. Henry Rodriguez, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen shut down the Mariners the rest of the way, with Storen pitching the ninth for his 18th save as the cheers cascaded - an increasingly common event at Nationals Park recently after years of last-place baseball.
Given the recent track records of the starters, a pitcher's duel appeared inevitable. Lannan was 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA in his last five starts, while Bedard was 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last nine. Both no doubt would have pitched deeper into the game were it not for the muggy conditions along the Anacostia River, where the first-pitch temperature was 88 degrees.
The Nationals scored off Bedard in the first when Ryan Zimmerman was hit by a pitch and advanced when Figgins couldn't handle a hot grounder by Michael Morse. Zimmerman then scored on Danny Espinosa's single to center.
In the fourth, Espinosa again singled to center, took off for second on a wild pitch and kept going to third when Olivo's throw went into the outfield. He then scored on a two-out, infield single by Jerry Hairston.
Seattle's run came in the fourth when Justin Smoak doubled to the left-field corner - the Mariners' first hit of the game - and scored on Olivo's single.
Bedard continues to baffle the National League like few others - his interleague ERA dropped to 1.69, lowest among active pitchers. But this time he effort was wasted, and his interleague record fell to 8-2.
``I don't do anything different,' Bedard said. ``It may be because when you don't play in their league they don't see you that much, so they don't have a feel for what I throw. Sometimes it's at your advantage.'
NOTES: Mariners rookie 2B Dustin Ackley had pinch-hit single in the seventh, giving him a hit in each of his first five major league games. ... Wedge said closer Brandon League was available to pitch. League took a comebacker off the right calf Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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