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Williams two hits away from tying MLB record

8/17/2002

SEATTLE (AP) -- Bernie Williams closed in on some baseball
history, and still didn't want to know anything about it.

Williams went 4-for-4 to give him hits in 10 straight at-bats as
the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 Friday night in
the opener of a series between division leaders.

The All-Star outfielder moved within striking distance of the
major league record of 12 consecutive hits shared by Mike "Pinky''
Higgins of the 1938 Boston Red Sox and Walt Dropo of the 1952
Detroit Tigers.

"No, and I don't want to know,'' Williams said when asked if he
was aware of how close he was to the record.

He drove in four runs to help the Yankees win their fifth in a
row and pull seven games ahead of Boston in the AL East.

Williams walked in the seventh inning and has reached base in 12
straight plate appearances, four shy of Ted Williams' big league
mark.

"I know it's not going to last forever,'' Williams said. "So
I'm enjoying the moment right now. This is a great time right now
for me.''

Williams, who also had hits in eight consecutive at-bats in
1995, and Raul Mondesi added two-run doubles of Shigetoshi Hasegawa
in the ninth to make it 9-3.

Williams has become extremely popular with his teammates.

"Everybody is trying to rub off on me now,'' he said with a
laugh. "That's funny. But it's good. Hitting is contagious, we're
getting a lot of hits and scoring a lot of runs right now.''

Yankees manager Joe Torre thinks Williams is surprising even
himself at the plate.

"He's coming in here with that little smile,'' Torre said.

Williams said he didn't think he was superstitious, but winning
pitcher David Wells admitted he was.

"I'm not going to talk about it,'' Wells said when asked about
Williams' streak. "I'm not going to be the guy (who jinxes him).''

Jeff Weaver pitched three scoreless innings for his first career
save.

Weaver, acquired from Detroit on July 6, wants to return to the
rotation, but was happy to help his team out of the bullpen.

"I'm dealing with it, and every opportunity I get I want to
make the best of it. I'm obviously happy that everything worked out
tonight,'' he said.

The Mariners, who stranded 15 runners, lead Anaheim by only a
half-game in the AL West.

"We just didn't get the hits when we needed them, and they
did,'' Seattle manager Lou Piniella said.

John Olerud went 0-for-3 and left five runners on.

Wells (13-6) got his first victory in three starts in August.

The Yankees took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the fifth, chasing
John Halama (5-4). Williams singled in the first run after Derek
Jeter and Jason Giambi singled. Mondesi added a sacrifice fly.

The Mariners tied it at 3 in the fourth on Carlos Guillen's
two-run homer into the Yankees' bullpen in left. It came after a
single by Dan Wilson, who went 3-for-4.

The Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the second on Robin Ventura's
25th homer of the season.

In the first, Williams singled in a run and Jorge Posada had an
RBI double for New York.

Bret Boone singled in a run for Seattle in the first.

In 5 1/3 innings, Wells allowed three runs on seven hits and six
walks, with three strikeouts.

"He was surprised that I took him out,'' Torre said. "But Boomer is used to throwing strike after strike after strike, and he couldn't do that tonight.''

Halama went 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and
two walks, with five strikeouts. He lost for the first time in five
decisions since July 13.

"Today was just a day of making a lot of mistakes, and I made a
ton of them,'' Halama said.

Piniella said after the game he will bench Mike Cameron, who leads the AL with 134 strikeouts and is hitting .218. Piniella pinch-hit for Cameron in the seventh.

"We're gonna let Cammy sit for a while and see if we can get
him straightened out,'' Piniella said.

Game notes
Seattle RF Ichiro Suzuki robbed Jeter of a home run in the
first inning with a leaping catch. ... Yankees 2B Alfonso Soriano
stole his 33rd base, tops in the AL. ... With 1,788 career hits,
Williams moved past Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri (1,784) for 10th
place on the Yankees' career list. He needs 15 hits to tie Roy
White for ninth. ... Guillen, a switch-hitter, hit his second homer
from the right side and his eighth of the season. ... Wells is
10-11 career against the Mariners. ... The Yankees are 63-1 when
leading after eight innings. ... Williams hit his 345th double,
passing Mickey Mantle for fifth on the team's career list.