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Seattle Mariners 8
Oakland Athletics 7
Posted: Wednesday June 20, 2001 02:29 AM
Seattle Mariners
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OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The Seattle Mariners have not needed much help this season. On Tuesday, they got some.

Baseball's best team avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season, rallying for an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

The Mariners appeared headed for their longest losing streak since September after the Athletics pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 7-6 lead.

But Seattle rallied in the ninth against closer Jason Isringhausen (1-2), who committed a costly error.

Japanese rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single and was singled to third by Mark McLemore. McLemore stole his 22nd base and Edgar Martinez grounded out to score the tying run.

McLemore stayed at second on the groundout but moved to third on an errant pickoff throw by Isringhausen. Following an intentional walk to John Olerud, Bret Boone lifted a sacrifice fly that plated McLemore without a play.

"I threw it a little wide, it was a bad play," Isringhausen said.

Martinez hit a two-run homer earlier for Seattle, which improved the majors' best record to 53-16.

"We battled back in the ninth and it wasn't textbook baseball, that's for sure," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "You've got to be pleased from a managing standpoint from what the team has accomplished and the effort they've given. The win wasn't textbook but we'll correct that and learn from it."

Arthur Rhodes (5-0) picked up the win despite allowing two runs and three hits in two innings. Kazuhiro Sasaki worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his major league-leading 26th save.

"We had opportunities to win the game. It was there for us to take and we didn't take it," Oakland manager Art Howe said. "We were in a position to finsih it off and we just didn't."

Trailing 5-3 entering the seventh inning, the Mariners were able to rally to take the lead. David Bell tied the score, hitting a 1-1 pitch from A's starter Gil Heredia over the left-field wall for his sixth homer.

McLemore drew a walk one out later against Mark Guthrie and, after Martinez flied out, the Mariners received some more help. Olreud launched a deep fly ball into left field and Billy McMillon raced back, but the ball popped out of his glove for an error, allowing McLemore to cross with the lead run.

"The ball came right in my glove. I just didn't catch it," said McMillon, who was playing his second game since being claimed off waivers from Detroit. "Bluntly, it's a situation where the ball came in my glove and I didn't squeeze it. The ball came in my glove and it came right out. I have no excuses."

Considered to to have the deepest bullpen in the majors, the Mariners went to Rhodes, who worked around a walk in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth.

Eric Chavez singled to start the bottom of the eighth and Miguel Tejada reaced on an infield hit. Jeremy Giambi drew a walk to load the bases.

Rhodes got Ramon Hernandez to pop out but a groundout by pinch hitter Olmedo Saenz tied the game. Johnny Damon followed with an RBI single up the middle, giving Oakland a 6-5 lead. Giambi was thrown out at third after rounding the base too far.

The Mariners' rally in the ninth helped the club's bullpen avoid its third loss in as many days.

Seattle starter Paul Abbott put his team in an early hole, allowing four runs in the opening inning. Jason Giambi had a sacrifice fly and John Jaha, Jeremy Giambi and Hernandez delivered run-scoring singles.

In the third, the Mariners scored three times to get back into the game. Suzuki plated the first run with an RBI double and Martinez hit his 11th homer, cutting the deficit to 4-3.

Hernandez doubled in a run in the bottom of the inning, giving Oakland a 5-3 advantage.

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