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Mariners lose precious ground

9/11/2002

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers abandoned the long
ball for one night, and still beat the Seattle Mariners.

Texas' record streak of 27 games with a home run came to an end,
but pinch-hitter Todd Greene drove in the go-ahead run with an
infield chopper in Tuesday night's 3-2 win over the Mariners.

''We didn't get one, but the home run record is already ours,''
said catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who went 2-for-3. ''It's good to beat
a contending team by doing the little things. We've got a chance to
do some damage in our division.''

The Rangers had gone 50 straight games with at least one homer
at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Herbert Perry, who went 2-for-3, led off the eighth inning with
a double off Joel Pineiro (13-6), and pinch-runner Donnie Sadler
went to third on Kevin Mench's sacrifice.

Greene's grounder against Arthur Rhodes with the infield in was
chopped so high that third baseman Desi Relaford had to take the
out at first.

Greene is a home run threat who has posted high strikeout totals
throughout his career, but he turned into a situational hitter with
the game on the line.

''Sometimes you just can't catch a break,'' Relaford said. ''It
was a decent pitch, but you've got a fast runner on third. You've
got a guy known for hitting flyballs and striking out and he chops
one. But he did his job.''

Rich Rodriguez (3-1) needed just one pitch to get the final out
of the eighth. Francisco Cordero struck out the side in the ninth
for his eighth save in nine chances.

Cordero ended the game with a fastball to Bret Boone that nipped
the outside corner.

''It was unhittable, 98 mph on the black,'' Rangers shortstop
Alex Rodriguez said. ''I'm glad I wasn't in there.''

Seattle wasted another opportunity to help itself in the AL
wild-card race, leaving 11 runners on base.

Texas stranded only one and beat Seattle for the second straight
night, scoring two runs on grounders.

''The story of that game was the last column on the scoreboard
(left on base),'' Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. ''We've lost
two (of the four-game series) here so let's try to win a ballgame
and get back to the positive things.''

Alex Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 53 homers, went
0-for-3 after going 4-for-9 with three homers and seven RBI in his
two previous games.

But A-Rod was smiling after beating his former team for the
second consecutive night, doing so with pitching, defense and smart
hitting.

''Home runs are nice, but pitching and defense win
championships,'' he said. ''We played fundamental baseball like the
Mariners do. It's nice to win that way.''

Seattle had seven baserunners over the first three innings, but
the Mariners managed only one run during that span.

The Mariners scored a run in the second with the help of a
throwing error by Rangers starter Kenny Rogers.

Singles by Dan Wilson and Jeff Cirillo put runners on first and
second, then Ichiro Suzuki got down a perfect bunt. Rogers'
off-balance throw to third got past Perry and Wilson scored.

Rogers settled down to retire 12 of the next 15 Mariners from
the third through the sixth innings.

Texas tied it at 1 in the second on Carl Everett's RBI
groundout.

The Rangers went in front 2-1 in the fourth on Ivan Rodriguez's
RBI double.

Rogers allowed one run and six hits over six innings. He struck
out five and walked three.

Rudy Seanez started the seventh for the Rangers and Seattle got
even at 2. Suzuki led off with a walk, went to second on Carlos
Guillen's single and both runners advanced on Seanez's wild pitch.

Suzuki raced home on Edgar Martinez's groundout.

Game notes
The Rangers will mark the Sept. 11 one-year anniversary
with a series of events Wednesday starting at 5:45 p.m. and
continuing until the first pitch at 7:12 p.m. for the game against
the Mariners. Rangers players will distribute T-shirts and American
flags at the gates, bands will perform patriotic songs on the
field, and area police and firefighters will be honored. ... Ivan
Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 13 games, longest for the
Rangers this season. ... Texas has won five of six.