Series: Game 1 of 3

New York leads 1-0 (as of 8/16)

Game 1: Friday, August 16
New York 9Final
Seattle 3
Game 2: Saturday, August 17
New York 8Final
Seattle 3
Game 3: Sunday, August 18
New York 2Final
Seattle 5

Yankees 9

(76-44, 40-24 away)

Mariners 3

(74-48, 38-26 home)

    10:05 PM ET, August 16, 2002

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 210020004 9 - -
    SEA 100200000 3 - -

    W: D. Wells (13-6)

    L: J. Halama (5-4)

    S: J. Weaver (1)

    Williams two hits away from tying MLB record

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

    Bernie Williams

    AP Photo/John Froschauer

    Bernie Williams is an impresario with the bat, and a guitar.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press