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Saturday, Apr. 14 10:05pm ET
M's use three relievers in ninth

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – After watching Kazuhiro Sasaki surrender a two-run, game-ending homer the night before, Seattle manager Lou Piniella decided his closer could use some help before coming on in the ninth inning Saturday.

Freddy Garcia
Mariners pitcher Freddy Garcia gave up only two hits in 7 2/3 innings of work.

Piniella stuck with Jeff Nelson for an extra batter, and Nelson struck out defending AL home run champ Troy Glaus. Arthur Rhodes retired Anderson on an opposite-field fly to left, and Sasaki got Jorge Fabregas on a fly to left to preserve the Mariners' 2-1 victory and earn his sixth save.

"We had the right combination," Piniella said. "I had Nelson in the ballgame already and had Rhodes warmed up. So we decided to go that way tonight and it worked. We won a ballgame and everybody's happy. That's my version of the Intercontinental Nasty Boys."

Seattle reliever Norm Charlton, one of Piniella's original "Nasty Boys" in Cincinnati a decade ago, was glad Sasaki had a chance to redeem himself so quickly following the Japanese right-hander's first blown save of the season.

"I'm sure nobody wanted the ball tonight more than he did," Charlton said. "He appears to have confidence in his ability, he's got great stuff and he works really hard.

"He hasn't been over here that long, but he's been doing this in Japan for years and years and years. He was the most successful guy over there, and there's a reason for it."

Freddy Garcia (1-0) pitched five hitless innings and the Mariners got RBI singles from David Bell and Ichiro Suzuki to improve the best start in club history to 8-3.

Garcia threw 126 pitches over 7 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and the one run. The right-hander limited the Angels to a one-out single in the sixth by Orlando Palmeiro and a two-out triple in the seventh by Adam Kennedy, who was stranded when rookie David Eckstein struck out.

Garcia, who surrendered seven earned runs over 9 1-3 innings in his other two starts, also hit a batter and issued two of his three walks in the sixth. A walk to Tim Salmon loaded the bases for Glaus, who drove in Eckstein with a sacrifice fly.

"Freddy had a really good fastball, and an excellent changeup and curveball," Piniella said. "But he reached his pitch count, so we didn't want him going any further. It was a nice cool night to pitch, and it was a really good effort from Freddy. And he needed it, because their pitching was excellent, too."

Angels starter Ismael Valdes (0-1) made a belated American League debut after spending two weeks on the disabled list with a cracked nail on his middle finger. Despite facing a lineup that had five hitters with lifetime averages of .300 or better against him when he was in the NL, Valdes was locked in a hitless duel with Garcia through four innings.

"I had good control and command of my pitches," Valdes said. "I'm not surprised how strong I was because I was working hard during the winter and I know I can do this. Tonight was a sign that my confidence is still there."

The right-hander worked six innings, giving two runs and four hits. He struck out five and walked three.

"He spotted his stuff, threw a lot of off-speed pitches, and it seemed like he was ahead in the count all night," Seattle's Bret Boone said. "Consequently, we just kind of chipped away and got a couple of runs. But we didn't exactly light it up against him."

Game notes
Valdes is the latest in a string of former Dodgers pitchers the Angels have picked up over the last 20 years, including Fernando Valenzuela, Don Sutton, Tommy John, Jerry Reuss, Tim Belcher, Terry Forster and Geoff Zahn. ... The only Seattle pitchers to throw no-hitters were Chris Bosio and Randy Johnson. Garcia came to the Mariners in a multiplayer deal that sent Johnson to the Houston Astros on July 31, 1998. ... Valdes faced the Mariners twice during interleague play while with the Dodgers. He beat Garcia 5-0 two seasons ago, allowing seven hits in seven innings with no walks. ... Al Levine relieved Valdes and retired all six batters he faced, five of them on strikeouts. ... Bell was 0-for-11 lifetime against Valdes before his RBI single. ... Palmeiro made his second start in right field while a slumping Salmon served as the DH. ... Al Martin was 0-for-4, and has only one hit in 19 at-bats this season.

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