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CWS@SEA: Ryan ends the game with a walk-off single

SEATTLE -- When the Mariners made the offseason trade to bring in Brendan Ryan to be the team's starting shortstop, he was mostly an unknown quantity.

Then the first month went by and he did little to distinguish himself, hitting more than 100 points below his career average.

But Friday night against the Chicago White Sox, Ryan finally had a decisive impact -- with this glove and bat -- in leading the Mariners to a 3-2 victory before 31,912 on Ichiro Bobblehead Night.

Ryan, struggling with an average below the Mendoza line, stepped up with a clutch two-out, ninth-inning RBI single to lift the Mariners to their second walk-off victory this season.

Jack Cust and Jack Wilson had consecutive one-out singles off Matt Thornton. Adam Kennedy ran for Cust at second. Kennedy went to third on Michael Saunders' flyout to center. Then Ryan hit a 1-0 fastball just to the right of second baseman Gordon Beckham.

It made a winner of Felix Hernandez (4-2), who went nine innings on 109 pitches. He allowed the two runs on five hits, striking out six and walking two.

"I did not feel quite right at the start of the season, I'm still trying to get there with each at-bat," said Ryan, who arrived Dec. 13 in a trade with St. Louis for right-hander Maikel Cleto. "Part of it, I haven't seen these guys (American League pitchers), so I might be trying to get some looks then get behind in the count.

"I wanted to be aggressive today with good pitches."

One inning earlier, Ryan flashed some leather to prevent the Sox from getting ahead. Beckham, who had opened with a double, was on third with one out. Alexei Ramirez then hit a hard grounder to a drawn-in Ryan at short. He made a quick decision to get Beckham, who was tagged out in a rundown.

"He hit it so hard, he was caught in no-man's land," Ryan said. "All I had to do was catch it and see what was going on. Felix did the rest of the work."

Hernandez, who had his second complete game -- 15th of his career -- said that play "was the key of the game right there. I get out of the inning and we win the game. I make a good pitch, ground ball to shortstop. He can't get back to the base and we get him out."

"[Hernandez] commanded the ballgame like we've seen so many different times," manager Eric Wedge said. "Even in the ninth he worked to give his teammates the chance to win it in the bottom half.

"He had it all working. His ball moves all over the place. Great arm, great pitch-ability, great sense of what he needed to do."

The Mariners had a chance early when Ryan opened the third with a first-pitch double off the left-center-field wall. He moved to third on Ichiro's right-side groundout. But Chone Figgins popped out foul to third and Milton Bradley struck out.

The White Sox pushed a run across in the fourth, primarily due to a brain blip by second baseman Wilson. Juan Pierre opened with a single to left and Ramirez put down a bunt to advance him. However, when catcher Miguel Olivo fielded it, no one was covering first. Justin Smoak broke in on the bunt and Wilson failed to cover the bag.

Pierre moved to third on Adam Dunn's flyout to right and came home on Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly to center.

The Mariners bounced back with two in the sixth. Ichiro opened with a walk. Figgins moved him to second with a bunt. Bradley then sliced a ball just inside the foul line in the left-field corner for a RBI double.

Smoak sent Bradley home with a ground-rule double over the left-center wall for a 2-1 lead.

Carlos Quentin made it 2-2 with a leadoff home run in the seventh before Hernandez shut the door.

"We know we are going to face a pretty good one. We have a few chances and we have people on base and we don't get the big hit," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But when you face Felix, he's going to bring the best stuff every day. He's one of the best in the game."

The Mariners have won eight of their last 10 games. Over the past 11 games, Mariners starters are 7-1 with a 2.51 ERA. Comments