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CWS@SEA: Mariners take lead on Ibanez's dinger

SEATTLE -- Raul Ibanez continued his recent offensive tear with four RBIs on Tuesday as the Mariners gave Felix Hernandez plenty of early offensive support in a 7-4 victory over the White Sox at Safeco Field.

Ibanez, who turned 41 on Sunday, ripped a two-run home run in the first and a two-run double in the third and finished 2-for-4 as Seattle handed the White Sox their eighth straight loss.

Hernandez wasn't initially sharp as Chicago scored in each of the first two innings, including a solo home run by Adam Dunn in the second, his 13th of the season. But the Mariners ace didn't give up another hit until the eighth, when the White Sox scored twice.

"Felix had to grind it out a bit today," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He made it difficult on himself working behind sometimes, left a few pitches out over early on. But he did a nice job of reeling it back in. He was a little sloppy with his delivery early on, but he tightened it up and had a great fastball tonight, he really did. He was strong, even late in the ballgame."

Hernandez wound up allowing four runs on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, improving to 7-4 with a 2.58 ERA.

Hernandez said he relied more on his fastball, which was hitting 92-95 mph on the gun, after realizing the White Sox were sitting on his changeup.

"I was happy with my fastball today," he said. "I threw one changeup and they just spit on it. I threw another one and they just spit on it. I just said, 'I've got to throw more fastballs.' I did and we got good offense and we won the game."

Closer Tom Wilhelmsen, making his fifth appearance in the past seven days, walked leadoff hitter Conor Gillaspie in the ninth before retiring Alex Rios on a popup and getting Paul Konerko on a double-play grounder to notch his 14th save.

Ibanez moved into a tie for the team lead with Michael Morse with his 11th home run, nine of those coming in his past 19 games. The veteran designated hitter also upped his RBI total to 30, second on the team to Kendrys Morales' 35.

Ibanez also hit a two-run blast in Monday's 4-2 win over the White Sox, that one coming on the 13th pitch of a tremendous battle with John Danks. This time, Ibanez ripped the first pitch he saw from Jake Peavy, an 89-mph fastball, for another two-run shot into the right-field seats.

"It was a fastball out over the plate," Ibanez said. "I didn't try to do too much, just get it up in the air. I figured be aggressive early and try to get a good pitch to hit and it worked out."

On the heels of Morales' run-scoring single, Ibanez's homer gave the Mariners a 3-1 lead, and they added two more before Peavy was taken out with one out in the third following Ibanez's double after he felt pain in his ribs.

"It's something that's pretty acute, pretty sharp," Peavy said. "I couldn't physically do much from the start of the game. I tried to gut through it and it's just frustrating."

Things got crazier moments later when rookie Nick Franklin laced a line drive to right field that was initially ruled a two-run home run as first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn signaled that the ball had cleared the wall, leading Franklin to slow to a trot even as Rios fired it back in and second baseman Gordon Beckham applied the tag before Franklin reached second.

Umpires viewed the replays and ruled the ball hit the yellow line at the top of the fence, overturning the home run. But Franklin was awarded second base, given he'd slowed down following the initial call. Brian Omogrosso got the final two outs to strand Franklin, but the Mariners had a 6-2 lead.

"I thought it was gone," Franklin said. "I thought it bounced and hit the railing and I saw the first-base umpire rule it a home run, so that's when I started to slow up. Unfortunately it didn't happen, but we came out with the win, which was even better."

Morales went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .303, while Franklin also had a pair of hits and is batting .292 after eight games in the Majors.

Michael Saunders reached base three times in a 2-for-3 performance and scored a big insurance run in the eighth when he walked, stole second and third and scored on Kelly Shoppach's sacrifice fly.

Rookie catcher Jesus Sucre was replaced by Shoppach in the fifth inning after getting hit on the left wrist by Alexei Ramirez's bat on a backswing. Wedge said X-rays showed what might be a small fracture on the top of Sucre's hand, but no decision will be made on whether a roster move is necessary until Wednesday.

With back-to-back wins over the White Sox to kick off a 10-game homestand, Seattle is 26-33 and shooting for its first sweep of the season in Wednesday afternoon's series finale.

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