<
>

Martinez homers after retirement announcement

SEATTLE (AP) -- Soft-spoken Edgar Martinez has a flair for the
dramatic.

Martinez homered in his first game since announcing he will
retire at the end of this season, and Gil Meche pitched two-hit
ball for eight innings in the Seattle Mariners' 4-3 victory Tuesday
night over the Minnesota Twins.

"I was hoping to hit the ball hard somewhere," Martinez said.
"It just went out. It was a thrill for me."

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire was hoping Martinez's
retirement was immediate -- not at the end of the season.

"When they announced he was retiring, I personally hoped that
he retired," Gardenhire said. "That way we wouldn't have had to
face him any more because he has done that to us many, many
times."

Bucky Jacobsen also homered for the last-place Mariners, back in
Seattle after a 3-11 road trip.

The first-place Twins lost their third straight and fifth in six
games.

Both runs off Meche (2-5) came on home runs. Corey Koskie
homered in the fifth for the first hit off Meche, and pinch-hitter
Lew Ford connected in the eighth.

Meche was outstanding in his third start for the Mariners since
being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 30. A 15-game winner
last season, he got his only other win with the Mariners this
season on May 2 at Detroit.

Meche walked two and struck out seven in his 13th major league
start of 2004.

"It felt real good," Meche said. "I think it felt real good
to everybody in here to get a win. Obviously for me, I hadn't won a
game in a long time. This is definitely what I'm looking to come
back here and do."

J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his second save. He gave up a
solo homer to Torii Hunter with two outs.

Regular closer Eddie Guardado has a torn rotator cuff in his
pitching shoulder that probably will require season-ending surgery.
The left-hander is expected to miss eight to 12 months, the
Mariners said.

Seattle gave Meche a 4-0 lead in the first on two-run homers by
Martinez and Jacobsen off Terry Mulholland (3-6).

The 41-year-old Martinez, who announced Monday that he will
retire after his 18th major league season -- all with Seattle --
received a stirring standing ovation from the Safeco Field crowd of
36,290 before the game. His ninth homer of the year came after a
single by Ichiro Suzuki.

"That was great," Martinez said. "They've always been great
to me. That was pretty amazing to me."

The designated hitter connected on a 1-0 pitch from Mulholland
for a 394-foot shot to left.

"I knew I hit it good. I thought it was going to go farther,"
Martinez said.

But he wouldn't promise Mariners fans that he'll hit a homer in
every remaining game.

"That doesn't happen every night," he said with a smile.

Jacobsen hit his seventh homer in 21 games after Bret Boone
doubled.

"I was lucky Terry threw a pitch I could hit," Jacobsen said.
"I wasn't going up there getting ready to take a whole bunch of
pitches."

Mulholland, making his sixth start of the season, pitched seven
innings and gave up four runs and 10 hits. He pitched in relief in
the 18th inning Sunday against Oakland.

Mulholland acknowledged he lost the game in the first inning.

"It's a nine-inning ballgame," he said. "You've got to play
the first one before you play the other eight. Unfortunately, I
didn't play the first one very well tonight."

Game notes
The Twins got their fifth pinch-hit homer of the season.
... It was Ford's second career pinch-hit homer. ... Boone has a
14-game hitting streak. ... The Mariners committed an error to give
them 65 for the season, the total they had in 2003 when they set a
major league record with the fewest errors in a season. They won 93
games last season.