Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – Cliff Lee pitched his second straight complete game and Seattle continued its incredible mound presence with an 8-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Michael Saunders belted a two-run homer and drove in four runs, as the Mariners posted their sixth straight win, the longest victory streak for the team since also a six-game run, April 9-15 last season.
Lee (6-3), who blanked Cincinnati on Friday, moved to 15-3 lifetime in interleague play. He scattered nine hits and had nine strikeouts. The lefty has fanned 76 hitters and walked just four this season. He hasn’t walked a batter in 37 straight innings, a club record.
It was the 17th complete game of his career and the first time a Seattle pitcher has thrown back-to-back complete games since Freddy Garcia accomplished the feat in July 2001.
The staff has allowed just one run over the last 32 innings and a total of three runs during their six-game surge.
Randy Wells (3-6) allowed 10 hits and six runs over six innings and is winless over his last 10 starts.
Tyler Colvin homered with two outs in the second inning for the Cubs, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
“I definitely had command most all my pitches I threw tonight,” Lee said. “I made a few mistakes, the homer was a fastball down the middle, but other than that I stayed out of the heart of the plate and we made plays.”
Consecutive one-out singles from Jose Lopez, Franklin Gutierrez and Josh Wilson loaded the bases in the fourth. Casey Kotchman then tied the game with another base hit. Rob Johnson struck out, but Saunders walked to give the M’s the lead. Ichiro Suzuki capped the rally with a two-run single.
“The big thing was the walk with the bases loaded to the ninth hitter to get to Ichiro,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “Ichiro singles up the middle and they got a 4-1 lead. In this park, with Lee pitching, that’s a pretty nice margin.”
Lee escaped a jam with two runners on base in the sixth by fanning both Derrek Lee and Xavier Nady, and the Mariners tacked on two runs in the bottom half thanks to an RBI double from Saunders and an RBI fielder’s choice from Chone Figgins.
Saunders homered to right field off Sean Marshall with one out in the eighth. Johnson was on base after walking.
The Mariners equaled a club record by allowing one or fewer runs in six straight games…Jamie Moyer had the old Mariners record of 28 1/3 straight innings without walking a batter…It’s the first time the Mariners have scored at least eight runs in a game since May 28 against the Angels.