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Mariners thwart Hudson, topple A's

9/20/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A red-faced Edgar Martinez slowly slid
off the trainer's table and limped to his locker, his upper leg
wrapped and his left toe on ice.

Four hits in Seattle's critical win were just another night's
work for the 40-year-old designated hitter who's determined to make
one final postseason push.

Martinez also scored twice and drove in a run, and John Olerud
hit a two-run homer as the Mariners' offense woke up with a 6-1
victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

Seattle moved within four games of the first-place Athletics in
the AL West, and Oakland's magic number remained at five. Any
combination of A's wins and Mariners losses that equal five would
give Oakland its second straight division title.

The Mariners, who had lost three of four, beat one of Oakland's
best in Tim Hudson and remained 2½ games behind Boston in the
wild-card race after the Red Sox won 2-0 at Cleveland.

"We feel like we are right in the race and we're going to keep
playing hard," Martinez said. "We haven't played our best
baseball in the second half, but we have an opportunity to gain
some ground and make things happen."

The story of Seattle's subpar second half has been a failure to
score runs, but the Mariners took advantage of their chances in
this one -- and an important win it was if they want to hold on to
their slim playoff hopes. They still have five games left against
Oakland.

When Martinez scored in the seventh, he beat out a throw home
that catcher Ramon Hernandez couldn't control because he took his
eye off the ball. Martinez moved awkwardly to avoid Hernandez.

"It worked out well," said Martinez, who is playing with a
broken big toe on his left foot. "The ball got away from him. I
think he heard my footsteps."

Ryan Franklin (10-13) pitched eight solid innings for his first
win in six starts. The lanky right-hander has allowed two or fewer
earned runs in six of his last seven outings, but has just two wins
to show for it.

He gave up one run and four hits, striking out seven and walking
four. He hopes that a win over Hudson in the opener of this
three-game series could help the Mariners, who face right-handers
Justin Duchscherer and Rich Harden the next two days.

"I felt it was definitely an important game," Franklin said.
"Whenever the season's over, I'll let you know how important it
was. I can't say right now."

Olerud is batting 13-for-40 (.325) with three home runs lifetime
against Hudson, one of the A's "Big Three" star pitchers.

Hudson smacked his hand into his glove in frustration as he
turned around to watch Olerud's shot sail over the wall in center
field in the fifth. The homer highlighted Seattle's four-run
inning, in which Dan Wilson, Ichiro Suzuki and Martinez all singled
and came around to score.

Bret Boone added a sacrifice fly that scored Wilson after Carlos
Guillen's sacrifice bunt moved the runners ahead.

After Olerud's homer, Franklin said the dugout showed more life
than he's seen in a while.

"A lot of excitement," Franklin said. "The most excitement
I've seen in a couple weeks in there. Hopefully, that can carry
us."

Erubiel Durazo homered in the first for a 1-0 A's lead. But as
has happened often this year, they couldn't back up Hudson.

Durazo has four homers and eight RBI in his last 12 games.

After Durazo's shot, Franklin struck out Eric Chavez before
walking Miguel Tejada and Scott Hatteberg and receiving a visit
from pitching coach Bryan Price. Hernandez grounded into a
fielder's choice and Franklin escaped the jam.

Mike Cameron walked with the bases loaded in the ninth for
Seattle's last run.

Hudson (15-7), going for his 80th major league win, allowed four
runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking
three.

He came in 2-0 in three appearances against Seattle this year,
having allowed only two earned runs in 24 innings.

"I threw one bad pitch, a fastball up to Olerud, other than
that I felt like I had good stuff," he said. "A lot of pitches I
was just missing. They were pretty patient, then all of a sudden
they were swinging 3-0. I don't know the theory behind that."

Perhaps it's that the Mariners have nothing to lose.

Game notes
Suzuki had two hits, leaving him two shy of a third
straight 200-hit season. ... The Mariners lead the season series
8-6, going 4-4 in Oakland. ... In the third, Hudson struck out the
side with three called third strikes. ... Martinez doubled twice to
give him 490 career doubles, tying him for 45th on the all-time
list with Mickey Vernon.