for this game

Morrow flirts with no-hitter, leads Mariners to win

Sep 6, 2008 - 6:09 AM By Paul Lowenberg PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Rookie Brandon Morrow flirted with a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings as the Seattle Mariners rolled to a 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.

In his first major league start, Morrow (2-2) allowed one hit and one run, walking three while striking out eight to help the Mariners earn their first win in seven meetings against the Yankees.

"It was exciting," Morrow said about his first start. "I was comfortable out there on the mound, so everything was good."

The 24-year-old righthander walked Hideki Matsui with one out in the eighth. He surrendered his only hit and run two batters later when pinch hitter Wilson Betemit, who replaced Jose Molina, stroked a hanging curveball for a double over the head of Ichiro Suzuki in right field.

"(My curveball) had been good all night, so I had confidence when I threw it," Morrow said. "He got a hold of it and you can't do anything."

Following the hit, Jim Riggleman pulled Morrow, who had thrown 106 pitches, and the 2006 first-round pick from the University of California left to a standing ovation from a crowd of 39,518. Rookie reliever Justin Thomas got Johnny Damon to softly fly to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to end the inning.

"(Morrow's) stuff was electric tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He had a great fastball tonight and a good change. When a guy's throwing stuff like that, he's going to get a lot of guys out."

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter was equally impressed with the hard-throwing Morrow.

"He's throwing 97 miles an hour," Jeter said. "He had an overpowering fastball. Later on he was mixing in a few more breaking balls and his off-speed stuff. He wasn't falling behind guys and he was really coming after us."

Closer J.J. Putz was summoned for the ninth and worked around a leadoff single by Jeter to earn his 11th save and preserve the victory for Morrow.

"I think the most impressive part was that he looked so in control of everything," Putz said. "I don't know how many pitches he had but he was throwing all of them for strikes. The whole bullpen had chills the entire game. It was a treat."

Seattle opened the scoring in the third on Betancourt's sacrifice fly, plating Miguel Cairo, who led off the frame with a double before moving to third base on Ichiro's single.

The Mariners added two more runs in the fourth off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (13-12), who surrendered three runs on seven hits in seven innings. Pettitte walked one and struck out nine, suffering his third loss in as many starts as his record at Safeco Field fell to 1-5 lifetime.

"I haven't won a game in a long time, and we need wins," said Pettitte, who is 1-5 since July 26. "We're running out of options as far as losing too many more."

Wladimir Balentien opened the fourth with a single and advanced to third when rookie third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo, playing in his first major league game, lined a double to right for his first hit. Kenji Johjima plated Balentien with a single to left and Cairo followed with an RBI groundout, giving Seattle a 3-0 lead.