Work in Sports
After Mesa retired All-Star slugger Magglio Ordonez with the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, Martinez lined a two-run homer in the 10th as the Mariners took Game One of their Division Series with the Chicago White Sox, 7-4.
Jose Paniagua tossed two superb innings in relief but allowed a leadoff single to Charles Johnson in the ninth. Josh Paul came on to run and Arthur Rhodes relieved. Ray Durham got down a bunt but Jose Valentin flied out.
Seattle manager Lou Piniella called on Mesa (1-0), who lost the closer's job earlier this year and allowed 130 baserunners in 80 2/3 innings during the regular season. After falling behind 2-0 against Most Valuable Player candidate Frank Thomas. Mesa issued an intentional walk. But the 34-year-old righthander was able to get Ordonez, who drove in 126 runs this season, on a harmless flyout to right field.
Former White Sox Mike Cameron opened the 10th inning with a bloop single to shallow left-center field. After Cameron stole second on a close play, Martinez gave the Mariners the lead by drilling a 2-1 pitch from Chicago closer Keith Foulke (0-1) just over the wall in left field. It was his fifth Division Series homer in 42 at-bats.
"When he was on second, I tried to make contact and make my swing shorter. I was able to wait more on the pitch and make a better swing," Martinez said. "It was a changeup, I believe."
"Edgar has been clutch for us all year. You want your big people up there in situations like that and Edgar got an off-speed pitch," Piniella said. "He stayed on it and drove it.
I wasn't sure it was going out but Edgar's so strong. (It was) just a clutch piece of hitting by Edgar."
Before Chicago fans had a chance to catch their breath, John Olerud crushed Foulke's next offering over the center field wall for a 7-4 lead. Foulke surrendered nine homers in 88 innings during the regular season but only one in 34 2/3 after the All-Star Game.
"Against Foulke, he got a good changeup," Olerud said. "After Edgar hit the home run, I figured I'd sit on his fastball."
The back-to-back homers seemed to take the steam out of crowd of 45,290 that enjoyed the White Sox's first playoff game since 1993.
"It wasn't difficult walking off the mound, it was the home run to Edgar that was difficult," Foulke said.
"He's gotten the outs when we needed them all season," Chicago White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "It didn't happen for him tonight. We have all the confidence in the world for Keith and if we had to do it again, we'd do the same thing. It just didn't work out (tonight)."
Japanese rookie Kazuhiro Sasaki took over in the 10th and picked up right where he left off in the regular season -- setting down AL hitters. He surrendered a leadoff double to Carlos Lee but got Paul Konerko on a groundout before striking out Herbert Perry and Chris Singleton.
Sasaki capped a brilliant effort by Seattle's bullpen, once its Achilles heel. Brett Tomko allowed one hit in 2 2/3 innings before turning the ball over to Paniagua.
"The story of this ballgame today was our relief (pitching)," Piniella said. "Freddy was struggling and we brought in Tomko, he got us some big outs. Paniagua got us some big outs, Rhodes, Mesa and then Sasaki. You hold a team like this for 6 2/3 innings and scoreless ball, your doing a heck of a job out of the bullpen."
Seattle needed its bullpen after starter Freddy Garcia was hit hard over 3 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old righthander was tagged for four runs and six hits, walking two and surrendering a homer to Ray Durham.
Chicago got a better effort from Jim Parque, who allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. Manuel went to setup man Bobby Howry in the seventh and he allowed a hit and two walks while retiring only two batters.
Game Two is Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a run-scoring single by Alex Rodriguez and an RBI groundout by Olerud that plated Cameron. Joe Oliver opened the second with a homer but Chicago got two runs in the bottom of the frame.
Konerko walked with one out and one out later Singleton lofted a long fly ball to right field that was misplayed into a triple.
Garcia promptly uncorked a wild pitch and Chicago was within a run.
Seattle appeared poised to extend its lead when Rodriguez and Martinez opened the third inning with singles. But Rodriguez was caught stealing and Olerud bounced into a double play.
Durham knotted the contest with a leadoff homer in the third and Valentin walked. One out later, Ordonez tripled to right for a 4-3 lead. The White Sox had a chance to pad their lead when they loaded the bases with one out in the fourth but Tomko, who struggled mightily away from home this season, got Valentin and Thomas on flyouts.
"I certainly take a lot of the blame for this loss," Thomas said. "I left way too many men on base. I came out of my swing, I was just too anxious. Later in the game, I decided if they just wanted to walk me that I let them do so. I wasn't going to swing at their pitches any more.
Seattle got a clutch defensive play by Rodriguez at shortstop to end the sixth inning and took the lead against Chad Bradford in the seventh. Howry took over for Parque to start the seventh and walked Jay Buhner. David Bell doubled into the left-center field gap.
Pinch-runner Raul Ibanez scored from third but Bell was cut down easily at the plate.
Seattle had two aboard in the eighth when Bill Simas got Bell to fly out.