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Sierra knocks in winning run in 10th inning

9/19/2002

SEATTLE (AP) -- Lou Piniella's voice was still trembling after
the Seattle Mariners' third straight extra-inning victory over the
Texas Rangers.

In a vintage Piniella tantrum, the Mariners manager was thrown
out in the bottom of the ninth inning after Ben Davis was thrown
out at first base on a close play that ended the inning.

"We got the job done,'' Piniella said after pinch-hitter Ruben
Sierra singled home the winning run in the 10th for a 3-2 victory
over the Rangers on Wednesday night. "We won a big ballgame. It
feels good to beat anybody.''

By winning its fourth in a row, Seattle remained seven games
back in the AL wild-card race with 10 games left.

Jeff Cirillo singled off Dennys Reyes (4-3), Ichiro Suzuki
sacrificed, Mike Cameron walked and Edgar Martinez was intentionally walked.

Sierra then singled down the left-field line against Francisco
Cordero. Texas had played six infielders, all drawn in, and two
outfielders.

"I do my job,'' Sierra said. "That's what goes through my
mind. I wanted to hit it hard somewhere and make something happen.
I didn't even look at the infield. I look at the ball and make
contact.

"Thank God I came through, and we won this one,'' he said "It
was very important.''

Kazuhiro Sasaki (4-5) struck out the side in the 10th.

"I didn't see it,'' Piniella said.

The 59-year-old Piniella threw his hat, kicked his hat, kicked
the infield dirt, picked up first base and heaved it down the
right-field line twice, and bench coach John McLaren restrained him
from getting to C.B. Bucknor. The umpire ejected Piniella, and
Safeco Field fans chanted "Lou, Lou, Lou.''

With runners at third and second, Davis hit a ball off pitcher
Jay Powell's glove to second baseman Michael Young, who barely got
Davis at first.

Piniella insisted he was right and Bucknor was wrong.

"I had a good viewpoint from my vantage point in the dugout and
it looked like a tie to me,'' Piniella said. "Not only did he beat
it, but his (Rafael Palmiero's) foot was off the bag. Then the guy
(Bucknor) had the nerve to have that smirk on his face, like he
knew what he was doing all along. And I'm the one to be penalized
for it.''

The Mariners stranded 18 runners and have left 47 men on base in
the first three games of the four-game series.

Piniella was frustrated.

"My hamstring hurts and my right shoulder hurts,'' he said.

Saying he was tired after going 5-for-32 in his previous eight
games, All-Star Alex Rodriguez did not start. But he entered as a
pinch-hitter in the ninth and went to shortstop, increasing his
consecutive games streak to 377 games, third longest in the major
leagues.

Texas took a 2-0 lead in the second on Carl Everett's RBI double
and Herbert Perry's run-scoring single.

Cirillo hit an RBI single in the bottom half, and Desi
Relaford's run-scoring single tied it in the third.

Ismael Valdes, acquired by Seattle from Texas on Aug. 18,
allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Rangers rookie
Joaquin Benoit gave up two runs, nine hits and four walks in 5 2-3
innings.

Valdes witnessed his first Piniella eruption in person. He'd
seen Piniella get angry on television before.

"It was a nice performance,'' he said, with a laugh. "It's all
about winning and he wants to win so bad. This guy show us a lot of
character tonight.''

The Rangers dropped their sixth straight, their second-longest
losing streak of the season. They are 16-24 in one-run games.

"If you lose 24 one-run games, it means you have a lot of
chances,'' manager Jerry Narron said. "With improvement, we can
win a lot of games next season.''

Texas hasn't won a game since sweeping the Mariners four
straight in Arlington last week.

"It is frustrating, but there is a lot of good coming out of
the series,'' Palmeiro said. "We are playing one of the better
teams in baseball into extra innings with a chance to win each
game.''

Game notes
Piniella was ejected for the third time this season. ...
Suzuki set a Mariners season record for intentional walks with 26,
one more than Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993. ... Everett had three hits.
... Benoit faced the Mariners for the first time. ... The Mariners
had two outfield assists. RF Suzuki threw out Perry in the second
and LF Relaford threw out Hafner trying to stretch a single into a
double in the seventh.