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M's Interegue Play Brings Another 'W'

The Seattle Mariners love playing National League teams in the Kingdome.

With Bill Swift and two relievers combining on a nine-hit shutout, the Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.

The Mariners are 7-2 in interleague play in Seattle, including 3-0 against the Dodgers.

"That was one of our better games of the year, if not the best," said Seattle manager Lou Piniella, whose team had lost nine of 16 games.

Swift (5-3) left with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, but Mike Timlin got out of the jam by striking out Jose Vizcaino and getting Gary Sheffield to ground out. Heathcliff Slocumb retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth.

Swift, 37, was signed as a minor-league free agent by the Mariners in February after going 4-6 with Colorado last season.

"Billy was throwing the ball great," Timlin said. "I didn't want to go out there and mess it up. We've been struggling a little bit. We're just trying to do our part."

Said Swift, who had shoulder surgery when he was with Colorado two years ago: "Any time you can shut somebody down and get us back on track, I'll take it. That was a great job by Timlin and Slocumb. I'm healthy this year and that's the biggest thing."

The Dodgers said Swift baffled them by keeping the ball down.

"We couldn't do anything with him," Los Angeles manager Bill Russell said. "He got groundballs when he needed them."

Piniella said he was demoting Bobby Ayala, who has five blown saves as Seattle's closer, and giving the job to Slocumb, who lowered his ERA to 8.78.

"We're going to use him to close," Piniella said.

The Mariners took a 2-0 lead off Ismael Valdes (4-7) in the second on RBI singles by Glenallen Hill and Dan Wilson. The first run was unearned because David Segui got aboard on third baseman Bobby Bonilla's fielding error.

In the fifth, the Mariners made it 3-0 on Joey Cora's triple and Alex Rodriguez's groundout. They added a run in the sixth when Rob Ducey, who doubled, scored from third on Dan Wilson's suicide squeeze single.

Swift, who allowed nine hits and walked one in 6 1-3 innings, got his third straight victory, while Valdes lost for the third time in four decisions.

Valdez allowed nine hits and four runs in 7 1-3 innings.

Notes: Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. was called out while running to second base in the fifth after being hit by Edgar Martinez's grounder. Martinez was given a hit on the play. "I didn't like that," Griffey said. "But I didn't have a chance." ... The Dodgers made room on their 40-man roster for right-handers Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael, acquired in a trade from the New York Mets on Thursday, by optioning the contact of left-hander Gary Rath to Triple-A Albuquerque and recalling infielder Adam Riggs and placing him on the 60-day disabled list. Riggs had surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday. ... The Mariners got their fifth shutout, while the Dodgers were shut out for the sixth time. ... Swift improved his lifetime record to 6-2 against the Dodgers. ... After the game, the Mariners optioned right-handed reliever Steve Gajkowski to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled outfielder Charles Gipson from their Pacific Coast League farm club. Gajkowski had a 10.80 in four appearances with the Mariners.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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