<
>

HR happy: Beltre legs it out, Sexson walks off in M's win

SEATTLE (AP) -- After giving up a tying homer to Boston's Jason
Varitek in the top of the ninth inning, J.J. Putz landed his
counter-punch.

Three of them, actually. Directly into the gut of Seattle
teammate Richie Sexson.

Sexson was glad to take his buddies' shots Sunday. They came
during a home plate celebration after his game-winning home run off
Mike Timlin that aptly finished the Mariners' wild, 9-8 victory
over the Red Sox at rocking, sold-out Safeco Field.

"Crazy game. Back and forth," Boston manager Terry Francona
said.

"Weird," Putz said.

He was just getting over Varitek's jolting home run -- the second
Putz has allowed this season -- and his fourth blown save in 23
chances. Then Sexson supplied his own stunner leading off the
bottom of the ninth.

"The coolest thing in baseball is the walk-off home run. The
whole team comes out. You get to punch the guy in the stomach,"
Putz said. "Yeah, I got in two or three good ones."

Sexson's shot off Timlin (5-1) came after Varitek drove Putz's
slider off a second-deck restaurant window. Putz (2-0) had just
struck out mighty David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in succession.

That sequence came after Adrian Beltre hit the first
inside-the-park homer at Safeco Field against Timlin, who allowed
only one home run in 38 appearances before Sunday.

Boston failed to extend its AL East lead, which remained 2½
games over the New York Yankees.

"Totally my fault," Timlin said after giving up two homers for
the first time since April 30, 2002.

Sexson hit his 20th home run but is batting just .227. He seemed
offended by the notion that this was as big a contribution as he's
had in his -- and the Mariners' -- maddening, uneven season. Seattle
is four games under .500, yet only four games back in the AL West.

"Hey, I've had some good games now," the slugger said. "But
against a great team, and with us still in the race, yeah, it's
big."

To which Putz added: "Awesome. I bought him a beer as soon as I
got in here."

Buying beer in an everything-is-free clubhouse? It fit this
crazy day.

Beltre's zany trip around the bases put the Mariners up 8-7 in
the eighth. His two-out drive off Timlin banged off the top of the
left-center fence. Beltre kept running as Coco Crisp lost the drive
in a blazing sun -- the ball landed 10 feet behind him.

"I saw the third-base coach waving me home and I said, 'Oh,
OK," Beltre said. "I had no idea what happened when I got to
home plate."

Here's what happened: Ramirez whiffed on a barehanded
pickup try. Crisp's wild throw then missed two cutoff men. Beltre,
with his batting helmet flying off and his jersey coming out at the
belt, didn't stop until he slid home ahead of Mike Lowell's throw
for the first inside-the-park homer in the seven-year history of
Safeco Field.

"I took my eyes off it and ran back to the spot I thought it
would be," Crisp said. "I thought I was going to rob it, and it
came out right behind me."

It was Beltre's third RBI of the game. He hit a two-run double
in a three-run first.

He said he'd never been in a game with an inside-the-park home
run -- let alone hit one.

"It says something," he said of Seattle's two rallies. "Here
is one of the best teams in the major leagues. Our team might not
be one of the best, but we have a pretty good shot to win the
West."

Ortiz and Ramirez each knocked in two runs for the Red
Sox. Varitek had three RBI.

Trailing 7-5, the Mariners tied it with two runs in the seventh
off Manny Delcarmen. Kenji Johjima hit an RBI double with two outs
and Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a run-scoring single.

Eduardo Perez hit a two-run homer in the third off Red Sox
rookie Jon Lester. It was Perez's first home run since the Mariners
traded with Cleveland for him on June 30.

Lester, from nearby Puyallup, Wash., was pitching in front of
about 50 friends and family, including his high school coach. He
allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings, striking out four
and walking one. He received a big bear hug from Ortiz in the
dugout upon his exit.

Lester got a no-decision and remained 5-0 partly because of two
sixth-inning misplays by 20-year-old Seattle rookie Adam Jones in
center field. Jones lost Kevin Youkilis' pop fly in the sun for a
single. Then the converted shortstop dropped Ortiz's single for an
error.

Ortiz's major league-leading 94th RBI gave Boston a 6-5 lead.
The error put Mark Loretta in position to score from third on
Ramirez's sacrifice fly, making it 7-5.

Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn gave up five runs and eight
hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.

Game notes
Betancourt extended his hitting streak to 12 games,
matching a career high. ... Perez's home run was the first allowed
by a Boston pitcher in nine games -- ending the team's longest
streak since 2002.