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M's squeezed into submission
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 4      3   Final
09/11/2002 11:36 pm ET 
 Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
 Mariners 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3 10 1
 Rangers 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 7 0
M's squeezed into submission
By Jim Street / MLB.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The great road trip the Mariners needed to get back into the postseason picture continues to go sour in Texas.

And the suicide squeeze bunt that went awry in the ninth inning Wednesday night epitomized what has been happening to a team on the fast track to playoff elimination, as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Rangers before 23,470 at The Ballpark in Arlington.

The Mariners, who had battled back from a three-run deficit to pull even in the eighth inning, got a leadoff double in the ninth by Bret Boone and a one-out double by Carlos Guillen.

Two doubles surely resulted in a run, you say?

Nope. A heads-up play by left fielder Todd "Deke" Hollandsworth fooled Boone, keeping him at second base and all he could do was make it to third. Pinch-hitter Jose Offerman tried to squeeze Boone home on a 2-2 count, missed the pitch completely and struck out. Boone was tagged out.

The bottom of the ninth inning began and ended with a walk-off home run by Todd Greene.

Ruben Sierra, who has done some of his best hitting this season against the Rangers, delivered the Mariners' first run all by himself, hitting a home run to right-center in the seventh inning. It was his 13th homer of the season and his first since July 14 in the Tropicana Dome.

There was more offense in the eighth inning, which began with a walk to Mike Cameron that ended Lewis' first MLB start. Danny Kolb replaced Lewis and promptly threw a wild pitch, which advanced Cameron to second. Ichiro laced a double to left-center to score Cameron.

After Desi Relaford failed to advance Ichiro to third, Kolb did it himself by throwing another wild pitch. Edgar Martinez then poked a game-tying single to right field.

Garcia was the bright light of the night for Seattle, although he received a no-decision for his solid seven-inning outing. In one of his best performances of the season, he accumulated 12 strikeouts, matching his career high set against the Tigers on Aug. 24, 1999.

In fact, the first six outs Garcia recorded Wednesday night were strikeouts.

However, the three batters he didn't strike out in the first two innings put him in a two-run hole.

Garcia struck out Mike Young and Mike Lamb to begin the bottom of the first and then walked Alex Rodriguez on a full-count pitch. A-Rod immediately took off for second base and made it with ease.

Rafael Palmeiro followed with a line drive single to right field that scored A-Rod and put Texas in front, 1-0. Garcia then struck out Ivan Rodriguez to end the inning and started the second inning with two more strikeouts as Carl Everett and Todd Hollandsworth went down swinging.

Blalock, on the other hand, went up swinging. He connected, sending a high fastball into the first row of seats in right field. Blalock's second home run of the season was his first since April 30 against the Blue Jays; it was the 27th roundtripper Garcia has surrendered this season.

Until this season, the Mariners' ace hadn't surrendered more than 16 home runs in a season.

Garcia had nine strikeouts on just 76 pitches through five innings.

Trouble is, the Mariners offense was practically non-existent against Lewis, a rookie right-hander who entered the game with a 7.82 ERA in 11 relief appearances. The Mariners didn't get a runner into scoring position until Sierra doubled with one out in the fifth inning. He advanced to third on a Carlos Guillen grounder to second base and remained at third on a Dan Wilson grounder to shortstop.

But there was more.

Ichiro reached base on a one-out bunt single in the sixth inning and scooted to third on Relaford's single to center. Primed to at least slice the two-run deficit in half, the Mariners watched as Martinez bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Making matters worse -- and the gap wider -- A-Rod pounded a 0-1 fastball deep into the seats in left-center field for his 54th home run of the season and his third in three games in this series.

The four-game series ends with a Thursday matinee. The Mariners will start right-hander Ryan Franklin (6-3, 4.05) against Rangers right-hander Chan Ho Park (8-6, 6.00).

Jim Street covers the Mariners for MLB.com and can be reached at jim.street@mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of MLB or its clubs.


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BOX SCORE
Texas Rangers 4, Seattle Mariners 3
Seattle Mariners
BatterPosABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
SuzukiRF 4121000.329
Relaford3B 4010001.284
MartinezDH 4021002.298
1-UguetoPR-DH 0000000.158
Olerud1B 4000012.306
Boone2B 4020000.272
SierraLF 4121012.279
GuillenSS 3010101.272
WilsonC 3000012.301
a-OffermanPH 1000012.233
BordersC 0000000.000
CameronCF 2100110.233
Totals3331032512
a-Struck out for Wilson in the 9th.
1-Ran for Martinez in the 8th.
BATTING
2B: Sierra (23, Lewis), Suzuki (26, Kolb), Boone (27, Cordero), Guillen (22, Cordero).
HR: Sierra (13, 7th inning off Lewis, 0 on, 2 out).
RBI: Sierra (59), Suzuki (47), Martinez (53).
2-out RBI: Sierra.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Wilson.
GIDP: Martinez, Olerud.
Team LOB: 5.
BASERUNNING
CS: Boone (5, home by Cordero/Greene).
FIELDING
E: Suzuki (3, throw).
 
Texas Rangers
BatterPosABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Young2B 4000022.266
LambDH 3000010.289
a-MenchPH-DH 1000000.272
Rodriguez, ASS 3211100.312
Palmeiro1B 3011110.274
1-SadlerPR 0000000.176
Hart1B 0000000.000
Rodriguez, IC 3000031.315
b-GreenePH-C 1111000.256
EverettRF 3020010.263
HollandsworthLF 3000012.297
Blalock3B 3121000.215
RiveraCF 3000032.209
Totals304742127
a-Grounded out for Lamb in the 8th. b-Batted for Rodriguez, I in the 8th.
1-Ran for Palmeiro in the 8th.
BATTING
HR: Blalock (2, 2nd inning off Garcia, 0 on, 2 out), Rodriguez, A (54, 6th inning off Garcia, 0 on, 1 out), Greene (7, 9th inning off Rhodes, 0 on, 0 out).
RBI: Palmeiro (95), Blalock (9), Rodriguez, A (132), Greene (14).
2-out RBI: Palmeiro, Blalock.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Young 2.
Team LOB: 4.
BASERUNNING
SB: Rodriguez, A (9, 2nd base off Garcia/Wilson).
CS: Sadler (2, 2nd base by Rhodes/Wilson).
FIELDING
DP: 4 (Rodriguez, A-Young-Palmeiro, Young-Rodriguez, A-Palmeiro, Greene-Blalock, Palmeiro).
Seattle Mariners
PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Garcia 7.063311224.37
Rhodes (L, 8-4) 1.01111012.69
Texas Rangers
PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Lewis 7.06222315.95
Kolb (BS, 3) 0.12110004.44
Rodriguez, R 0.20000005.02
Cordero (W, 2-0) 1.02000201.85
Lewis pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

WP: Kolb 2.
Pitches-strikes: Garcia 112-73, Rhodes 27-16, Lewis 100-61, Kolb 13-8, Rodriguez, R 3-2, Cordero 19-10.
Ground outs-fly outs: Garcia 3-6, Rhodes 2-0, Lewis 12-6, Kolb 0-1, Rodriguez, R 2-0, Cordero 0-0.
Batters faced: Garcia 28, Rhodes 4, Lewis 27, Kolb 3, Rodriguez, R 1, Cordero 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Kolb 1-1, Rodriguez, R 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Fieldin Culbreth. 1B: Bill Hohn. 2B: Larry Young. 3B: Bill Miller.
Weather: 86 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 5 mph, Out to RF.
T: 2:57.
Att: 23,470.

Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner