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Cameron hits grand slam off Baez in ninth inning

4/23/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Mike Cameron is tired of letting Safeco Field psyche him out.

Cameron hit a grand slam off Danys Baez in the ninth inning to
cap a five-run rally and give the Seattle Mariners an 8-5 victory
over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.

"I've beat myself up about it for three years,'' a smiling
Cameron said. "It's not something I'm going to try to continue to
let have a mental edge on me.''

The Indians scored three times in the top of the ninth to take a
5-3 lead, but Seattle fought back against Baez (0-2). Randy Winn
singled, Bret Boone walked and Edgar Martinez singled home Winn.

John Olerud walked to load the bases, and Cameron followed with
his fourth career slam, a drive into the Cleveland bullpen in left
field for his second homer of the season.

Cameron, one of the top defensive outfielders in baseball, hit
his first homer at Safeco this season. He stepped to the plate
batting .200 (7-for-35) at home. He hit .218 and had only seven of
his 25 homers at Safeco last season.

Cameron said he's tired of thinking negatively when he's batting
in Seattle.

"It is tough'' to hit here, he said. "But I'm going to try to
overcome that thing and put myself in a position to really help
this team out in a big way.''

First-year Mariners manager Bob Melvin thought about using a
pinch-runner for Martinez after he walked in the seventh.

"I'm sure glad I didn't now,'' Melvin said.

Boone said the Mariners, a team that tied the major league
record with 116 victories in 2001, were thinking positively even when they fell behind 5-3.

"We knew we had a chance,'' he said. "We knew we weren't done
yet.''

Giovanni Carrara (1-0) got the victory after Mariners closer
Kazuhiro Sasaki blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, allowing a tying
single to Ellis Burks.

Pinch-hitter Bill Selby hit a two-run single off Carrara to give
Cleveland a 5-3 lead. Sasaki blew his fourth save in eight chances
this season and third in five games.

In the ninth, Milton Bradley singled and Sasaki walked Karim
Garcia with one out before Burks singled to score Bradley from
second. After getting Matt Lawton to pop out, Sasaki left because of tightness in his lower back.

"We have to see where his health is,'' Melvin said. "There is
tightness. We don't know what it is for sure.''

Sasaki will be the Mariners' closer when he gets back, though.

"That's the way our bullpen sets up,'' Melvin said. "Our
bullpen sets up to get to him and he is our closer. That's one of
the strengths of our team.''

Carrara walked Josh Bard, loading the bases for Selby.

It was a tough loss for the young Indians, but rookie manager
Eric Wedge tried to look on the bright side of his team's
performance.

"I'm proud of the way we came back,'' he said. "We were
playing a good club and we fought hard. But they took it right back
from us. We're slowly moving in the right direction.''

Seattle went ahead 3-0 in the fourth after C.C. Sabathia gave up
a double to Olerud, then hit Cameron and Jeff Cirillo with pitches.

Dan Wilson followed with a three-run double over Garcia's head
in right.

Freddy Garcia, winless since April 6, limited the Indians to one
run on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The Indians got a home run from rookie Travis Hafner to open the
fifth, his third of the season.

Pinch-hitter Shane Spencer singled in Bard from second for
Cleveland's second run in the eighth, the first run off Shigetoshi
Hasegawa this season. Bard's double came off Hasegawa, and
Spencer's hit came against Arthur Rhodes.

In the seventh, Hasegawa, who replaced Garcia with two on, got
Burks to line out to second with the bases loaded to end the
inning.

Sabathia, making his fifth start of the season, went five
innings and gave up three runs on eight hits. A 13-game winner last
season, Sabathia hasn't won since last Sept. 27.

A season low crowd of 25,231 watched the Mariners open a
six-game homestand. It was the third-smallest crowd in the history
of Safeco Field, which opened July 15, 1999.

Game notes
Cameron's slam was his first since last May 16 in Toronto.
... It was the sixth game-winning grand slam in Mariners history.
The last came Aug. 26, 1996, by Mark Whiten against Baltimore. ...
Sasaki has a 9.00 ERA in nine innings and 10 games this season. He
has 119 saves in three seasons in Seattle, including 37 last
season. ... Hasegawa has allowed one run in 11 games and 14 2/3
innings this season.