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Mariners' hats off to fans

9/27/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Even though they're out of postseason contention,
the Seattle Mariners are trying to pile up the wins.

Ichiro Suzuki hit a tiebreaking single and Rey Sanchez had a
two-run double in the sixth inning as the Mariners beat the
playoff-bound Oakland Athletics 7-4 Saturday.

Although their final series is meaningless because they were
eliminated Thursday, manager Bob Melvin is sticking with his
regular lineup.

"Our fans deserve that here," Melvin said. "Our fans are
coming out in full force, so we owe them our best effort. At the
very least, we owe them that."

Substituting liberally, manager Ken Macha watched his AL West
champs lose to the Mariners for the second straight game and for
the fourth time in five games over nine days.

The Mariners won their 92nd game and improved to 11-7 against
the A's this season.

Reigning Cy Young winner Barry Zito, scheduled to pitch Game 2
of the playoffs against Boston on Thursday, started and went five
innings. He wasn't involved in the decision, allowing four runs and
seven hits.

Zito finished the regular season with a 14-12 record and a 3.30
ERA. Last season, he was 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA.

"We got to him early," Melvin said of Zito. "He's a guy you
have to get to early because once he settles down, he gets real
tough. Whenever you go up against a Barry Zito, you have your work
cut out for you."

Zito admitted he was looking ahead.

"Going into this start, I kind of overlooked that I had to
pitch against the Mariners a little bit and was more focused on the
whole playoff thing," he said. "It's always tough to make starts
like this when it's not all the money on the table."

Macha said the Mariners didn't face a vintage Zito in the
opening inning.

"Barry was up with some pitches and they were being very
aggressive," Macha said. "After that, I thought he settled down
and pitched great."

Ryan Franklin (11-13), who missed his previous start on
Wednesday because of a stiff neck, pitched six innings to get the
victory. He allowed four runs on six hits and three walks, with
five strikeouts.

Franklin said his stiff neck bothered him, but it felt good
enough to pitch. He said he hurt himself.

"I was stretching in Anaheim and rolling on my back and putting
my legs up over my head," Franklin said. "It wouldn't go away for
like three days. I've never had anything like it."

The Mariners scored three times in the sixth against Chad
Bradford (7-4). With two out, Willie Bloomquist and Dan Wilson
singled and Suzuki singled up the middle on a 3-0. Sanchez then hit
his second double of the day.

In the third, the A's tied the score at 4 on Eric Chavez's
two-run homer, his 29th homer of the season. Terrence Long had a
two-run single for Oakland in the second.

The Mariners took a 4-0 lead on six hits in the first. Bret
Boone opened the scoring with a run-scoring single, John Olerud
added an RBI double and Randy Winn and Mike Cameron followed with
RBI singles.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched the ninth inning for Seattle for his
16th save in 17 opportunities.

The A's-Boston best-of-five series will open Wednesday night in
Oakland. The A's will send their regulars against left-hander Jamie
Moyer, Seattle's 20-game winner, on Sunday.

"Tomorrow, we're going to stick our lineup out there and let
them play the whole game," Macha said.

Game notes
Suzuki went 2-for-5 to give him 211 hits for the season. It
was his 66th multi-hit game, tops in the majors. He's averaged 220.3
hits in his three seasons in Seattle. ... Franklin is tied with
Anaheim's Jarrod Washburn in the AL with 34 homers allowed this
season. Washburn is scheduled to start for the Angels on Sunday.
... Winn has a season-high 11-game hitting streak. ... Zito made 35
starts for the third straight season. He pitched a career high 231
2-3 innings compared to 229 1-3 last season.