One win short
Mariners fail to set record for single-season victories
Updated: Monday October 08, 2001 10:57 PM
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners are fairly certain they will never be playing for their 117th win again.
And Edgar Martinez was disappointed they let the chance slip away.
The Mariners fell one win short of setting a major league record for victories in a year, losing their regular-season finale 4-3 to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
"I'm sure everyone here knows this opportunity doesn't come around very often," Martinez said. "But it's still been a great year, and we're still in the record books."
"When we left spring training, if you would have told me we'd win 116 ballgames and tie the record, I would have thought you'd have been smoking dope or something," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said.
Mariners players waved their hats to the fans and hugged on the field after the game. Seattle begins the playoffs at home on Tuesday against Cleveland.
Though upset about the loss, players sipped champagne in the clubhouse after the game to celebrate such a remarkable regular season.
"The season's not over for us yet," Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron said. "There's going to be no luck. None of that stuff. It's going to be execution."
Texas manager Jerry Narron was relieved his team didn't go down in history for allowing the Mariners to win No. 117.
"I've known Lou for a long time and if anybody would get it, I'd be happy for Lou," Narron said. "But I'm really happy for the Chicago Cubs and their fans."
The Mariners led the AL West from day one and clinched their third division title with more than two weeks to go. They set the AL wins record of 115 on Friday, passing the 1998 New York Yankees.
The Mariners had won six in a row and 10 of 12.
"It doesn't matter," shortstop Mark McLemore said. "We need to win a World Series. That's all we're focusing on."
Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 and finished .350 to add the AL batting title to the seven he won in Japan. He's only the second rookie to do it. The other was Tony Oliva of Minnesota in 1964. Suzuki ended the season with a 13-game hitting streak and 242 hits -- the most in the majors since Bill Terry's 254 in 1930.
"To me, what I have won is not important," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "To me, what is important is how I prepare for the game every day. I get a lot of fulfillment in how I prepare."
Aaron Sele, one of four Seattle pitchers to win more than 15 games, gave up eight hits and three runs in five innings. He allowed a two-run homer to Palmeiro that tied the score at 2-2.
Before the game, the Rangers fired general manager Doug Melvin. Texas finished in last place for the second consecutive season, ending up 43 games behind the Mariners.
Texas went ahead 3-2 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Marcus Jensen.
Rangers starter Darren Oliver allowed three runs and six hits and struck out five in seven innings.
Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4, finishing his first year in Texas with a .318 average and 52 home runs. Rodriguez left Seattle after last season to sign a record $252 million, 10-year contract with the Rangers.
Rodriguez sat in the dirt for several seconds a few feet from second base after the Mariners turned a double play to end the fifth inning and spoil another Rangers scoring chance.
"They have the greatest manager I've ever seen, leadership, and the best bullpen I've seen," Rodriguez said of the Mariners.
Notes: Suzuki's first-inning double gave him 135 games with at least one hit. That matches four others for the major league record: Rogers Hornsby (1922), Klein (1930), Wade Boggs (1985) and Derek Jeter (1999). ... Seattle's home attendance for the season was 3,507,507, the highest in the majors this year. The Mariners drew 45,578 on Sunday for their 59th sellout of 2001. They averaged 43,303. ... RHPs Brett Tomko and Dennis Stark will not be on Seattle's postseason roster. OF Eugene Kingsale and C Pat Borders are being sent to the Mariners' Peoria, Ariz., spring training facility for instructional league so they are sharp if Seattle needs to substitute a player in the second round because of injury. ... Rodriguez led the league with 52 homers, 133 runs scored and 393 total bases. He also tied Oakland's Jason Giambi for the league lead in extra-base hits with 87. ... Palmeiro's homer was his 10th against Seattle this year, a Texas club record for home runs against an opponent. It equaled his career-high of 47 in a season.