Chicago at Seattle

Chi. Cubs
W: J. Vargas (6-2) L: R. Dempster (5-6)
S: D. Aardsma (16)
HR: CHC - None   SEA - F. Gutierrez (6)

Mariners 2, Cubs 0 wire reports

SEATTLE -- Look at the American League's ERA rankings. There's Jason Vargas, among Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee, Francisco Liriano and other far more acclaimed stars.

The Marlins and Mets castoff didn't know that. All he knows is Bert, Ernie and Big Bird.

"I haven't noticed, but now that you brought it up that's a nice feeling to have," Vargas said after allowing four hits in seven innings for Seattle on Tuesday night and lowering his ERA to 2.66, sixth-best in the AL. "I'm not a computer guy, and I've got a 2-year-old son at home. So we watch cartoons a lot. ... Sesame Street."

The forgotten left-hander who battled a bad hip for years and then had to sweat out a Mariners roster spot in spring training won his fourth consecutive decision. Franklin Gutierrez hit a home run to help send Seattle to its season-high fifth consecutive victory, 2-0 against the Chicago Cubs.

The Mariners have scored 11 runs during their winning streak, their longest since winning six in a row April 9-15, 2009. Five of those runs came in one game.

Who needs offense when you have pitching like this?

Seattle has allowed two runs in the past five games, tying a team record set in September 2001 -- a season in which the Mariners won an AL-record 116 games.

"It's pretty phenomenal to watch," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Brandon League and David Aardsma finished the six-hitter. Aardsma, a Cub in 2006, walked Geovany Soto and allowed a single to Alfonso Soriano with two outs in the ninth. But the right-hander struck out Tyler Colvin swinging at a 96 mph fastball for his 16th save in 20 chances.

Ryan Dempster (5-6) yielded five hits in his 11th career complete game and first since Sept. 29 for the Cubs.

His problem was that he allowed a leadoff single to Jose Lopez in the second, then left over the plate a 91 mph fastball that was supposed to be inside. Gutierrez hammered that for his sixth home run of the season, and first since May 25.

Chicago lost for the third time in four games.

"You give up a couple of runs, you expect to win," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, bemoaning his inconsistent offense.

The Cubs immediately got League in trouble in the eighth with a walk by Starlin Castro and a single by Ryan Theriot. But the ground-ball specialist got Marlon Byrd, who had two hits off Vargas, to chop into a double play. Byrd punched the air in frustration.

Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy then popped out, and the shutout stayed intact.

Vargas (6-2) had seven strikeouts, one short of his career high, by using a new cut fastball and a faster pace. He's learned both recently from Lee, who is just ahead of Vargas in ERA and will try to continue Seattle's roll on Wednesday.

The fastest pitch Vargas threw was 88 mph. But his location was exquisite -- Jeff Baker watched that fastball for strike three on the inside corner to end the sixth.

Soriano squandered an earlier prime chance for Chicago. He doubled leading off the fifth. Then he rounded third unaware that left fielder Michael Saunders had drifted into left-center field to easily catch Colvin's line drive. Saunders, who later said Soriano must have either thought he was positioned somewhere else or that there were two outs, walked halfway to second. He could have gone all the way for the unassisted double play but flipped the ball there instead.

"I thought the ball was going to bounce to the left fielder," Soriano said. "But Colvin hit it pretty hard and he caught the ball."

The owner of six All-Star appearances and a $136 million contract walked off the field looking bewildered. He remained that way in the dugout while talking to teammates.


The many Cubs fans at Safeco Field booed Mariners slugger Milton Bradley each time he came to the plate. They loved it when he struck out twice. He also walked and flied out, dropping his average to .211. Chicago traded Bradley for Carlos Silva only one failed season into his $30 million, three-year contract with the Cubs. ... This was the Cubs' first game in Seattle since 2002, and Piniella's first in Seattle since 2005 when he was in his final season managing Tampa Bay.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. Vargas
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 7

R. Dempster
IP 8.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 2
K 8

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Marlon Byrd, CF4020011 .323
Jeff Baker, 3B3000022 .250
   a- Chad Tracy, PH-3B1000001 .244
Derrek Lee, 1B4000011 .230
Xavier Nady, DH4000001 .262
Geovany Soto, C2000210 .268
Alfonso Soriano, LF4030010 .279
Tyler Colvin, RF4000014 .299
Starlin Castro, SS2000110 .262
Ryan Theriot, 2B3010000 .283
a-flied out for Baker in the 8th
2B - Marlon Byrd (25, Vargas), Alfonso Soriano (20, Vargas)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Baker-Theriot-Lee
E - Starlin Castro (10, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Dempster (L,5-6) 8522281 3.56
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 116-80
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 8-8
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 31
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF3010102 .336
Josh Wilson, 2B4010012 .288
Milton Bradley, DH3000120 .211
Jose Lopez, 3B4110012 .239
Franklin Gutierrez, CF3112010 .273
Mike Carp, 1B3000000 .138
    Casey Kotchman, 1B0000000 .187
Eliezer Alfonzo, C3010000 .250
Jack Wilson, SS3000022 .244
Michael Saunders, LF3000012 .209
HR - Franklin Gutierrez (6, Dempster)
RBI - Franklin Gutierrez 2 (31)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Michael Saunders 1
DP - Saunders-Wilson, Wilson-J. Wilson-Kotchman
Seattle Mariners
Jason Vargas (W,6-2) 7400170 2.66
Brandon League (H,6) 1100100 3.32
David Aardsma (S,16) 1100110 5.09
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 94-65, Brandon League 12-5, David Aardsma 18-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 5-8, Brandon League 1-1, David Aardsma 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 25, Brandon League 4, David Aardsma 5
Game Information
Attendance - 27975
Game Time - 2:13
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Eric Cooper