Vargas dominates as Mariners take opener

Vargas dominates as Mariners take opener

Vargas dominates as Mariners take opener
SEATTLE -- At this point, the Mariners just may want to tell Jason Vargas they lost the night before he pitches, even if that's not the truth.

Vargas threw yet another gem following a Seattle loss, breezing through the Royals lineup en route to a 4-1 victory on a warm Thursday night at Safeco Field.

Vargas threw eight innings of one-hit ball, giving up just one run while walking three and striking out five on 115 pitches, winning his career-best 11th game.

"There was a lot of Vargas, all right. We just couldn't get anything going," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Couldn't do anything off of him. He pitched a great game, moved the ball in and out, changed speeds well."

The southpaw is now 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 14 starts after a Mariners loss, and the team has won five straight and eight of the past nine in those games. Vargas improves to 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in five starts in July.

"It's been good. It's been a good stretch," Vargas said. "I just try to take it one start at a time and just try to focus on what I want to do to get better for that next team we're facing. I don't really put a whole lot of thought into what's happened prior, unless it's something that really needs to change."

The one-hit performance strengthens Vargas' value as Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. After Vargas retired the side in order in the eighth -- in what would have been his final home game as a Mariner if he is to be dealt -- the 15,014 stood and cheered the lefty as he made his way to the dugout. But Vargas made it plain and simple after the game that he didn't want out of Seattle.

"I hope that what I can do out on the field is worth them keeping me here," Vargas said. "Obviously it means you're doing alright if they're talking about other teams wanting you, but this is where I want to stay. This is a great city, I love the organization, I love my teammates, I love the staff -- I can't say any more than that. It's home to me."

In what Vargas hopes wasn't his final home game at Safeco, the Mariners gave him all he would need in offensive support with a pair of first-inning runs. Scoring early has become customary for Seattle, as Thursday night was the 11th time in their last 17 games -- and sixth time in their last seven -- that the Mariners scored in the first inning.

Mike Carp got the ball rolling with a two-run single in the first, scoring Dustin Ackley and John Jaso. It was part of a nice day at the plate for Carp, as he returns from his second stint on the disabled list. The first baseman went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run, his first multi-hit game since May 12.

"It's been frustrating this season going back and forth with the injury and to have a night like that definitely helps things move forward, hopefully keep it going down the stretch," Carp said.

He was not the only Seattle player to have success, though, as the team collected 11 hits and drew four walks and a hit-by-pitch. Ackley and Miguel Olivo also had two hits for the Mariners.

Seattle added a run in the fourth when Brendan Ryan dropped a single into left field, scoring Carp from second. The Mariners closed the scoring in the sixth, as Olivo led off with a double into the left-center field gap and scored when Carlos Peguero followed with a double of his own down the first-base line.

But on a rare night when the Mariners banged out hit after hit at home, the game was less about the offense and more about the dynamic performance by Vargas.

"I think he's just been very consistent all year," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "You're going to have some ups and downs over the course of 30-something starts, but he's been about as consistent as you can ask a starting pitcher in the big leagues to be.

"You go through real good stretches and sometimes not so good. One thing about Jason, his demeanor doesn't change, his confidence level doesn't change. I think he has a tremendous feel for what he needs to do to be successful."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.