SEATTLE -- Jarrod Washburn paid J.J. Putz the best compliment he could think of for a closer. He compared Putz to his former teammate Troy Percival, once a dominant reliever at the end of games for the Angels.
Putz has seven saves in eight chances for the Mariners, who have won five of their last six.
"I hate to say J.J.'s got better stuff than Percy. But Percy had a fastball. That's what he threw," Washburn said.
"J.J. has three pitches -- with that hard fastball, too."
Washburn got his first win in May and slumping Richie Sexson drove in three runs for the Mariners. Washburn (3-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to get his first win since April 26.
Sexson was in a 2-for-19 skid and batting .198 overall before he grounded a single past shortstop Miguel Tejada in the first inning to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. He then sliced a drive under the glove of diving third baseman Melvin Mora for a two-run double in the second that put Seattle ahead 6-0.
Sexson said he hopes the big game will help him turn things around this season.
"I've done it my whole career," Sexson said, holding his year-old son, Gavin, in his arms. "We talk about at the end of the season, looking at the scoreboard and hopefully seeing the same numbers are there."
Kris Benson (6-4), acquired in January from the New York Mets in exchange for Jorge Julio, left after he allowed 11 Mariners to bat in the second inning. Six of the seven runs he allowed in his two innings were earned. He walked two and struck out three.
Yuniesky Betancourt doubled in two runs in the second and scored on Ichiro Suzuki's double. Carl Everett drove in Sexson with a single to put Seattle up 7-0.
"We are better than this," Benson said. "And we have to go out there and prove it."
Manager Sam Perlozzo was so upset at his team's ninth loss in 11 road games, he held a postgame, closed-door meeting after the game.
"This was the first time I didn't think we put together a good team effort out there in those first two innings," Perlozzo said.
"You can't let each other down very much by a lack of ... a good, solid effort."
Immediately after Seattle's six-run second inning, Washburn walked Brian Roberts, playing for the first time since going on the disabled list on April 30 for a strained left hamstring. Mora then drove a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence for his eighth home run of the season.
Washburn, who signed a $37 million, four-year contract with Seattle in the offseason, allowed a Mora single in the fifth before Javy Lopez hit an 0-2 pitch about a dozen rows into the left-field bleachers to make it 7-4.
"It felt like I was back in the minor leagues and didn't have a clue how to throw strikes," Washburn said.
Putz took over the closer role earlier this season after Eddie Guardado struggled. He had a limited pitching repertoire until Guardado taught him a new, split-fingered fastball in spring training. Now manager Mike Hargrove is talking about Putz potentially remaining the closer for the rest of the season.
"I don't worry about that," Putz said. "The phone rings. They tell you to get up. You go in there."
On May 7 at Boston, Benson allowed nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. ... RHP Sean Green relieved out of a tired Seattle bullpen and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pave the way for Putz. ... Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the AL's longest this season. His career-high hitting streak is 23 games. ... This was Sexson's fifth multi-RBI game in 47 games. ... LHP Kurt Birkins pitched four hitless innings in relief of Benson. He walked two and struck out two.