SEATTLE (AP) -- Two fat pitches, two home runs. Bret Boone hopes that's enough to end his season-opening doldrums.
Boone homered twice, with his 13th-inning shot giving the
Seattle Mariners a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. That might help Boone recover from a slow start. He opened the
season 9-for-40 until going 2-for-5 with a home run in Saturday
night's 13-4 victory. Then he was 3-for-5 with the two homers
Sunday. Boone has been working closely with hitting coach Lamar Johnson. "Not so much for the mechanical but to just feel good in the
box,'' Boone said. "It was a long spring. The first 10 to 12 games
I felt average. The last six or seven at-bats, I've felt a lot
better. I hope this is a sign of things to come.'' Alex Rodriguez hit his fifth home run for the Rangers, and Todd
Greene's solo shot tied it at 3 in the eighth. Boone connected on a 2-0 pitch from reliever R.A. Dickey (0-1),
bringing Seattle fans who stayed to watch the extra four innings to
their feet. "I left the ball out over the plate and up, and Boonie likes to
hit balls over the plate and up, especially on a 2-0 count,''
Dickey said. "He was coming out of his shoes when he sees that.
You've seen how he swings.'' Boone also hit a solo shot in the seventh for his 15th career
two-homer game. "We're not the team that Texas is,'' Boone said. "They've got
three 40-plus (homer) guys and we don't. We play a little different
game than them.'' On this day, though, the Mariners matched the Rangers homer for
homer. John Mabry had another solo home run in the seventh off
Texas starter John Thomson to help the Mariners rally for a 3-2 lead. "It was a sinker over the plate,'' Mabry said. "I just got a
good barrel on it.'' Kazuhiro Sasaki (1-0) pitched the 13th for the victory after
Shigetoshi Hasegawa threw 3 1-3 innings, striking out four while
allowing three hits as the game went to extra innings. "I don't know the last time Shiggy went four innings,'' Boone
said. "He kept a heck of a lineup in check. He was a big reason we
won.'' Rodriguez hit a 356-foot solo home run over the scoreboard in
left field to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the third. Rodriguez
shares the AL home run lead with Anaheim's Tim Salmon.
Dickey, who flew in from Albuquerque on Sunday after the Rangers
called him up from Triple-A Oklahoma, came in with the bases loaded
and one out in the 11th. Making his first appearance in the majors
since May 7, 2001, Dickey calmly struck out Mike Cameron and Mark McLemore. The last one to Boone got away. "I didn't locate it and he's an All-Star,'' Dickey said. "He
did what he should have done with it. He hit it out of the ballpark
and we lose.'' Hasegawa struck out Juan Gonzalez with two on to end the top of the ninth. "We squandered a lot of scoring opportunities and it came back
to bite us,'' Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. After walking 31 batters in the last three games, the Texas
staff finally threw strikes. This time, no Mariners hitter faced a
third ball until Cameron in the seventh, and nobody walked until
Francisco Cordero put Edgar Martinez on in the 11th. Thomson kept the Mariners off balance with six strong innings,
but Boone and Mabry took advantage when he tired in the seventh. Greene tied it with a 421-foot shot to center field off reliever
Jeff Nelson. Greene learned earlier Sunday that his wife's cousin
was among seven American POWs released by Iraqi forces. "It was nice to come back and tie the game right away like
that, especially off Nellie,'' Greene said. "I don't think I've
ever put a ball in play off Nellie before.''
Martinez returned from a one-week absence with a strained
left hamstring, going 1-for-4. ... The Safeco Field roof was closed
all morning but opened just before the first pitch. It was closed
again as showers began in the top of the fourth. ... Seattle won
the series 2-1. The Mariners are 20-8 all-time against Texas at
Safeco and the Rangers have never won a series in nine visits. ...
Rodriguez is 8-for-15 over his last four games, boosting his
average from .214 to .326.