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Mariners pitchers struggle with control

5/15/2004

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Mussina was laboring, Seattle was rallying
and the Yankees' bullpen was warming up.

Just when it looked like the game might get away from Mussina,
he got a break: a line drive that turned into an inning-ending
double play.

It wasn't pretty, but Mussina won his third straight start with
six rocky innings, and the New York Yankees took advantage of a
wild night by Seattle's pitchers to beat the Mariners 9-5 Friday.

"It was not the way I envisioned it when I came to the park,"
Mussina said.

Tony Clark drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth, and Bernie
Williams broke open the game with a two-run double in the seventh.

The first four Seattle pitchers combined for 10 walks, including
four with the bases loaded, and also had two errors and a
run-scoring wild pitch.

Seattle lost its season-high sixth straight game despite
peppering Mussina (4-4) for 11 hits and five runs in the first 3
1-3 innings.

"I threw some decent pitches, they just kept getting hits,"
said Mussina, who walked just one and did not strike out a batter.

Things turned for him in the fourth when Scott Spiezio hit a
line drive with men on first and second that Clark snared far off
the bag.

"Sometimes you get a break," Mussina said. "Guy hits one on
the screws, and you get a break."

The 6-foot-7 first baseman lunged to tag out Randy Winn and end
the inning.

"I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right
time," Clark said.

Seattle never managed another threat.

"If that thing gets through, then the floodgates open a little
more," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said.

Mussina retired six of his final seven batters, then gave way to
Paul Quantrill to start the seventh.

"(Mussina) didn't unravel. He battled," manager Joe Torre
said. "Those last two scoreless innings were important."

Quantrill and Gabe White finished with three scoreless innings.

Williams, emerging from a season-long slump, was 2-for-3 with
three RBI, raising his average to 226. He broke a 2-for-17 skid by
going 3-for-4 with a homer on Thursday.

Clark, subbing for an injured Jason Giambi, was 2-for-2 with two
walks and two RBI.

Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, a run scored and an RBI for Seattle.

"It's extremely frustrating, what we're going through right
now," Melvin said.

After four busy innings, the score was tied at 5-5 with the
Yankees getting outhit 11-3.

Gary Sheffield singled to lead off the fifth and took second
when Ron Villone (3-2) made a pickoff throw that sailed over first
baseman Dave Hansen. It was Villone's second costly error of the
game.

Clark followed with a single to right off the end of his bat,
driving in Sheffield for a 6-5 lead.

Suzuki led off the game with a double off the right-field wall
and scored on Edgar Martinez's sacrifice fly, but the Yankees
quickly erased that deficit in their half of the first with a big
assist from pitcher Gil Meche.

With two outs and two on, Meche walked four straight hitters,
the final three each forcing in a run. Meche came out after
two-thirds of an inning, having thrown 38 pitches, just 17 for
strikes. New York led 3-1.

"I had one of those days. I hope it never happens again,"
Meche said.

Mussina, who threw eight shutout innings at Seattle in his
previous start, couldn't hold the lead.

Seattle got one back in the third on Spiezio's sacrifice fly,
then smacked Mussina for five hits and three runs in the fourth to
make it 5-3.

New York rallied in the fourth, again with lots of help from the
Mariners' pitcher.

Villone was charged with an error after bobbling Derek Jeter's
squib to the mound to load the bases. The left-hander then walked
Williams, forcing in a run, and Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a
sacrifice fly.

Game notes
2B Bret Boone sat out a third straight game with a sprained
left hip flexor. He took batting practice and did some stretching
before the game, hoping to be back in the lineup Saturday. ...
Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 13 games ... Martinez is tied
with Harold Baines for the most home runs by a DH with 235.
Martinez hit his 300th career homer early this week. ... C Jorge
Posada missed his second straight game for New York, but his broken
nose was feeling better. He said he expected to sit out Saturday's
game, too. "Maybe, Sunday," he said. "Most likely Tuesday." ...
Giambi missed a start with a sore left hip. He pinch hit in the
seventh and was intentionally walked. Manager Joe Torre expected
Giambi back in the lineup Saturday. ... Jeter went 0-for-5 with
three strikeouts.