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SD@SEA: Beavan bests the Padres in his MLB debut

SEATTLE -- Seattle starters are on a record-setting pace this season, and currently lead the American League with a combined 3.14 ERA. 

Welcome to the club, Blake Beavan. 

Beavan, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday to start in place of injured lefty Erik Bedard, made his MLB debut in style. He threw seven innings of three-hit ball to help the Mariners take the rubber game over San Diego, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field. 

The Texas native found out that he'd be pitching in the big leagues after Tacoma manager Daren Brown informed him on Saturday morning. By Sunday afternoon, he was on the hill at Safeco in a Seattle Mariners uniform for the first time ever.

Was this effort -- seven innings, three hits, four strikeouts and his first MLB win -- what he expected?

"Everything and more," Beavan said. "It was just good to get out there and get the butterflies out. After the first inning, I calmed down and locked in."

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Beavan, who is just the sixth Mariner starting pitcher this season, said he had "a lot" of pregame butterflies, but it wasn't really apparent on Sunday afternoon in front of 28,001.

Bevan hit his spots all day and sported impressive control with a consistent fastball and an occasional changeup and slider.

"I was really impressed with the way he used his fastball, but also the way he mixed it in with the secondary stuff," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He had to make some pitches at certain points in time in a tight ballgame, and he was very efficient. Can't ask for anything more than that in a debut."

It helped Beavan to have a familiar face behind the plate. Catcher Josh Bard made his fourth consecutive start in place of Miguel Olivo -- who is day-to-day with a tight right hamstring -- and it worked for the better on Sunday.

Bard and Beavan have spent time together in Tacoma and the pair worked off each other well. Beavan seemed slightly flustered at a few points during the game, but Bard was quick to jump up and pay a visit to the mound to calm his guy down.

"I had Bard in Tacoma, and just feeling comfortable with somebody helps a lot," said Beavan, who had his parents and wife in attendance. "It calms the nerves down, him telling me to calm down and stay composed."

With Bedard on the 15-day disabled list -- Wedge said he expects Bedard back after the All-Star break -- the Texas native should see another start before the All-Star break. This season with Tacoma, Beavan was 5-3 with a 4.45 ERA. 

Reliever David Pauley escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and closer Brandon League, who was named an American League All-Star for the first time on Sunday, pitched the ninth for his AL-leading 22nd save. League has not given up an earned run since giving up a game-winning home run against Cleveland on May 13.

One night after putting up just two hits and no runs for starter Doug Fister in a 1-0 loss to the Padres, the Mariners provided an early cushion for Beavan.

Third baseman Adam Kennedy gave Seattle the early 1-0 advantage with an RBI single in the first inning, and the Mariners padded their lead in the third with consecutive bases-loaded sacrifice flies from Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley.

Ackley, who returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with bruised ribs, finished 1-for-4 with an eighth inning single. He has now reached base in each of his first 13 MLB games, and nine of his 13 hits this season have come in the seventh inning or later.

San Diego starter Mat Latos went six innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits. He fell to 5-9 on the season.

Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who was left off the All-Star roster for the first time in his 11-year MLB career, finished 2-for-3 and scored two of Seattle's three runs.

Seattle finished 5-1 against San Diego this season, and the Mariners' pitching staff was 5-1 with a 0.50 ERA in those six games.

"We saw six different starters and they all pitched with an upbeat tempo," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It seemed like all six guys where throwing strikes and locating their pitches. In these six games, their starters pitched pretty well."

The Mariners head to Oakland to begin a seven-game road trip that will end with a four-game series against the Angels right before the All-Star break.

"It was a good win today, good to win this series before we head to Oakland and Anaheim," Wedge said. "We're getting back into our division now. That's where you got to get it done."

League and Seattle ace Felix Hernandez were named All-Stars on Sunday morning and will represent the Mariners in Phoenix, although Hernandez most likely won't pitch because he is scheduled to start next Sunday's game against the Angels.

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