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08/24/07 1:20 AM ET
Seattle stops Texas' offensive unit
Mariners set club record with nine players notching 50 RBIs
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Jeff Weaver held the Rangers to 27 fewer runs than they scored the previous night in a game against the Orioles, and the Mariners added a new entry into their own record book, during a 9-4, come-from-behind victory on Thursday night. The win was the Mariners' third on this four-game-old road trip, moved them within one game of the Angels in the American League West and added one-half game to their lead over the Yankees in the AL Wild Card race. The club record came near the end of a seven-run sixth inning when designated hitter Jose Vidro welcomed Rangers reliever Mike Wood to the game with a first-pitch home run to right-center, driving in his 50th and 51st runs of the season. The veteran switch-hitter became the ninth player in Seattle's lineup to reach the 50-RBI mark this season. The previous record was eight, shared by the 1987, 1997, 2001 and 2002 teams. "It's a pleasure to be part of this lineup," Vidro said. "This is a really, really good lineup, one that you really have fun watching. Everyone takes the approach to home plate that there is no tomorrow -- it's good at-bat after good at-bat." From the top to bottom: Ichiro Suzuki (53), Vidro (51), Jose Guillen (79), Raul Ibanez (83), Adrian Beltre (75), Richie Sexson (62), Kenji Johjima (51), Jose Lopez (52) and Yuniesky Betancourt (51). "It's the kind of lineup that if I was a pitcher, even I would think it is a tough lineup to pitch against," Ichiro said. Every starter had at least one hit as the Mariners reached the 15-hit mark for the seventh time this month. Six of those hits came in the sixth inning when Seattle (72-53) erased a two-run deficit and took charge of the four-game series opener in front of 26,963 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Guillen lit the fuse with a leadoff home run off right-hander Kameron Loe, and Ichiro delivered the go-ahead punch, a bases-clearing double to center field with two outs. That put the Mariners in front, 6-3, and Vidro tacked on two more with his fifth home run of the season. Weaver and three relievers combined to hold off the Rangers, who scored 30 runs in the opener of a doubleheader on Wednesday night. They scored nine more in the nightcap, arrived back in Arlington around 4:30 a.m. CT, and went back to work a few hours later. "I was hoping they were tired," Weaver said. "That's very impressive, no doubt. That doesn't happen very often, but I can't really think about that. I know Texas' lineup is very potent, and you saw that again tonight with some home runs." All three runs Weaver surrendered were the result of long balls. Brad Wilkerson hit a two-out, two-run home run off the Starbucks sign on the second-deck façade in right field in the third inning, giving Texas a 2-1 lead, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamachia made it 3-1 in the fourth with a home run to right field. But Weaver held them there and waited for the Mariners' offense to click into gear. And, sure enough, Guillen's 18th home run of the season set the decisive rally in motion. "Once again, Ichiro came up huge with the bases-loaded double," Weaver said. "I don't know, we seem to have a rap on that sixth inning now and we came through again. The last few starts, it's in our best interest to keep it close and give us an opportunity along the way to break through. "It's just a matter of time before we do so, it seems." "That was a huge win for us, I can tell you right now," manager John McLaren said. "We've had problems in this ballpark [2-4 this season] and we got behind. We get behind a lot, but we've got the ability to come back and we did again tonight." It was Seattle's Major League-leading 37th come-from-behind victory this season. The Mariners were down two runs when they put together an inning that looked similar to four of the innings the Rangers had Wednesday night. Texas had five-, six-, nine- and 10-run innings to become the first MLB team in more than 100 years to score 30 runs in a game. Nine was fine for Seattle on this club record-breaking night. "That's impressive," McLaren said of the nine 50-RBI hitters. "It shows the balance we have in our lineup. We don't count on one or two guys. The bottom of our lineup has come through for us so many times and we're able to manufacture runs. We spread it out pretty good and that's a true indication of how we spread it out." Weaver won his fourth straight game to improve to 6-10 on the season. "I say the same thing every time -- he's a professional and knows what he's doing out there," McLaren said. "He studies a whole lot and is totally ready to pitch. Sometimes he doesn't make his pitches and fights himself, but he stayed with the game plan and gave us another quality start." Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty and right-handers Sean Green and J.J. Putz combined to get the final nine outs on a very warm night deep in the heart of Texas. McLaren said he would prefer to use Putz in save-only situations, but, "he hadn't pitched in four days, but had to get him out there to make sure he doesn't get rusty."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.