SEATTLE(AP) Mariners designated hitter
and his 36-year-old bad back barreled in from third base to score - on a tapper back to the mound.
had his first three-RBI game in more than two years. Kansas City's
almost got run over by a mascot driving a four-wheeler. And
showed frustration at being held out by the Mariners to preserve his health by huffing through his translator after his fifth
consecutive day off, ''I'm not here to play soccer.''
Other than that, Seattle's 6-3 victory over the Royals on Friday night was ho-hum.
Sweeney, a former Royals All-Star, burned his old team with the wildest run of Seattle's surprising season.
Playing against a right-hander because Ken Griffey Jr.'s 39-year-old knee is stiff and sore, Sweeney took off after Royals
threw to first on a comebacker hit by Wilson, who was giving recently gimpy shortstop
the night off. Sweeney belly flopped past catcher
's tag to put Seattle up 2-0, then popped up so excitedly his batting helmet flew off. He yelled and pumped both fists as
he ran into a Mariners dugout that was roaring over the old man's guts and gusto.
''Awesome,'' Seattle ace
said, still beaming after the game.
''I don't know in my lifetime I'll ever see Sweeney do that again,'' said rookie manager
, Oakland's former bench coach who hand-picked the oft-injured veteran from the Athletics to fix Seattle's fractured clubhouse
this season. ''That's what makes him special. ... It electrified us.''
Sweeney said he took off because he could tell Bannister's throw to first was going to be lazy.
''I don't know if I've ever done that one,'' Sweeney said.
As for his rollicking teammates' reaction, Sweeney said: ''Well, Griffey wanted me to get drug tested. The other 24 guys on
the team high-fived me.''
Hernandez was far from sharp, throwing first-pitch strikes to only 11 of the 27 batters he faced. He had a good reason for
his seven so-so innings: a searing sinus headache.
Yet Hernandez (13-5) allowed the lowly Royals just five hits and three runs. He walked one and struck out six in his first
win since Aug. 1, following three no-decisions and a loss.
''It was my day to pitch. I've got to do it,'' he said about the headache, which he called cured by finally winning.
allowed a leadoff single in the ninth before finishing for his 31st save in 35 chances to keep Seattle 7 1/2 games behind
front-running Boston in the AL wild-card race.
left the game before the fifth inning. The team announced Branyan felt a ''tweak'' in his back while checking his swing during
his second and final at-bat, a strikeout in the third inning. He will be re-evaluated Saturday.
Bannister (7-11), the son of 1982 Mariners All-Star
, lost his fourth consecutive decision in front of more than a dozen family members. He allowed seven hits and six runs -
five earned - in 6 2-3 innings.
DeJesus doubled home Kansas City's first run in the third. He singled ahead of a homer by rookie
off Hernandez that made it 5-3 in the fifth.
It was Maier's second career home run, both in the last four days after none in his first 345 plate appearances.
It was the fifth homer in two games for Kansas City, which entered the series Thursday next-to-last in the AL in homers.
DeJesus also survived almost getting run over by the Mariner Moose's ATV between innings. The mascot was cruising around the
infield warning track but had to slam on the brakes while DeJesus grabbed his glove in the dugout and ran onto the field in
his path. A 5-foot long skid mark remained in front of the dugout well after the game.
, then with Boston, was hit but not injured by the Moose in a similar incident two years ago this month. That prompted the
Mariners to ground the Moose's ATV until recently.
''I looked up and he was flying by on the quad,'' DeJesus said, laughing. ''Yeah, that would have been pretty crazy.''
NOTES: Wakamatsu said the team's cautious approach with Suzuki's tight calf could keep the nine-time All-Star on the bench
all weekend. ... 3B
(bruised testicle) became eligible to come off the disabled list, but likely won't be ready until perhaps Tuesday. ... OF
(sprained knee), on the DL since July 23, impressed the Royals while running the bases before batting practice. Manager Trey
Hillman said Guillen could return during the series at Oakland early next week.