Series: Game 3 of 3

Tampa Bay won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, August 26
Tampa Bay3Final
Game 2: Wednesday, August 27
Tampa Bay8Final
Game 3: Thursday, August 28
Tampa Bay3Final

Devil Rays 3

(53-79, 24-42 away)

Mariners 2

(77-56, 40-28 home)

    4:35 PM ET, August 28, 2003

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 001100001 3 6 0
    SEA 000001010 2 7 1

    W: T. Harper (3-7)

    L: S. Hasegawa (1-1)

    S: L. Carter (22)

    Mariners lose for eighth time in nine games

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Lou Piniella's birthday haul included a bottle of wine, several cards from well-wishers and a dramatic victory over his former team.

    Toby Hall homered in the ninth inning, lifting the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 3-2 victory over the slumping Seattle Mariners on Thursday, which also was Piniella's 60th birthday.

    "What a clutch home run," Piniella said, smiling broadly.

    The Mariners fell two games behind Oakland in the AL West after leading the division for 4{ months. They lost for the eighth time in nine games, leaving them a half-game behind Boston in the wild-card chase.

    "We're a very good team. We just haven't shown it on the field in the last few weeks," outfielder Mike Cameron said.

    Seattle's Bret Boone tied it at 2 with a solo shot in the eighth, but Hall drove a 1-1 pitch from Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-1) into the Devil Rays' bullpen in left field with two outs.

    "My first three times up, I was lunging," Hall said. "I just tried to keep it simple. I was trying to hit the ball hard. You can't be intimidated by who's out there. You just try to see it and hit it."

    It was only the fifth time Hasegawa has allowed a run in 53 appearances this season. He came in with a 0.75 ERA.

    "I've made mistakes during the season all the time," Hasegawa said. "Today, I thought it was only one pitch, and he hit that one."

    Piniella, the former Mariners manager, greeted a stream of birthday well-wishers before the game, many bringing gifts such as the wine bottle on his desk. He was in a good mood afterward, too.

    "Hasegawa's been almost unhittable," Piniella said. "Three-quarters of a run for an ERA. Then he gets two quick outs and Toby connects one."

    Al Martin also homered and Jorge Sosa gave up one run in six innings for the Devil Rays, who took two of three from Seattle -- only the third series Tampa Bay has ever won against the Mariners.

    "We beat a contending team, but we're trying to beat everybody," Hall said. "We're not trying to pick and choose. We're trying to win every game."

    Lance Carter pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 28 opportunities.

    Martin's solo homer gave the Devil Rays a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Boone tied it, driving the first pitch he saw from reliever Travis Harper (3-7) over the wall near the left-field foul pole.

    "Boone is a clutch hitter," Hall said. "We made a mistake and he capitalized on it, but we've been sticking together as a team. The old Devil Rays would have tucked their tails and given up another run."

    Freddy Garcia pitched well for 6 2-3 innings, holding Tampa Bay to four hits and one earned run. He struck out four, including three in the second, and walked two before turning it over to lefty Arthur Rhodes in the seventh.

    A 10-mph wind was blowing from the northwest, unfurling the flags above left field. For the first time in four months, the green and yellow "Athletics" banner was displayed on the first pole among the AL West teams.

    "They were eight games back of us, so things can happen quickly," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "We need to find a way to turn it around."

    Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the third, capitalizing on a rare error by second baseman Boone to score an unearned run.

    Boone dropped a fly by Hall, who went to second on Damian Rolls' single to left. Carl Crawford walked, and Julio Lugo hit a sacrifice fly.

    "We had a good opportunity to win today, but we made some mistakes," Boone said.

    Martin made it 2-0 in the fourth when he launched a 2-0 pitch deep into the stands in right field.

    "We scored three runs and the staff made it hold up," Piniella said. "That's big for us."

    The Mariners couldn't score until the sixth. John Olerud hit a two-out RBI single to left to score Boone, and Seattle had the bases loaded after Cameron walked.

    Sosa ended the threat, though, by getting Randy Winn on a short chopper that was corralled by Hall, the catcher. Sosa allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

    Game notes

    Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4, extending his hitless streak to nine at-bats. He went 1-for-12 in the series. ... Since joining the AL in 1998, the Devil Rays have won 13 series against first-place teams. This was the fourth time they've knocked a front-running club from its perch. ... Olerud was 3-for-4 and has 11 hits in his last six games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press