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A-Rod, Palmeiro homer in same game for 15th time

9/20/2002

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners are on the verge of playoff
extinction.

Hank Blalock delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th and
the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 12-7 Thursday night, the fourth
consecutive extra-inning game between the teams.

The Mariners won the first three, all one-run decisions. No team
in major league history has ever won four straight games in extra
innings.

The loss further damaged the fading Mariners' postseason
chances. The defending AL West champions are seven games behind
Anaheim in the wild-card race with only nine left to play.

"You know three out of four isn't bad,'' Seattle manager Lou
Piniella said. "The problem with the position we're in is that
three out of four is probably not good enough.''

Seattle opens a three-game series with the Angels on Friday
night. If Anaheim wins the first two games of the series, the
Mariners' season will be unofficially over.

"I don't know what the situation is, but we don't want nobody
celebrating on our field,'' the Mariners' Mike Cameron said.
"Tonight definitely was a big blow.''

The Mariners have made it to the AL championship series the past
two seasons and tied the major league record with 116 victories
last year.

Seattle has six games left with Anaheim and three with Oakland.

"We've just got to keep winning,'' Seattle's Bret Boone said.
"We can pretty much eliminate losing any more games this year.
This basically puts us in a no-lose situation.''

The most wins the Mariners could have this season would be 97.

Alex Rodriguez of the Rangers predicted it wouldn't be the
Mariners' year because Oakland and Anaheim were so strong this
season.

"I said in spring training that they (the Mariners) would win
92 games this year and I think they're on pace to do that,'' he
said. "They have a great team, but our division is incredibly
tough.

"We beat the heck out of each other and if you put any of our
teams in the East or the Central, we could easily be 10 of 12 games
better,'' he said. "Put Oakland in the Central and they would be
winning 112 games this year.''

Blalock's hit up the middle past a drawn-in Mariners' infield
off Kazuhiro Sasaki scored pinch-runner Jason Hart to put Texas
ahead 8-7.

Carl Everett opened the Texas 10th with a double off Shigetoshi
Hasegawa (7-2) and was replaced by Hart because he has a strained
left quadriceps. Todd Hollandsworth sacrificed, and Sasaki
relieved.

After Blalock's single, Sasaki walked Ruben Rivera and Michael
Young to load the bases. Mike Lamb hit the ball back to Sasaki, who
lobbed the ball over catcher Ben Davis for a two-run error. Ivan
Rodriguez doubled in Texas' final two runs.

Jay Powell (3-2), pitching for the third night in a row, got the
victory.

Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro of Texas tied a major league
record by homering in the same game for the 15th time in a season.

Rodriguez, with a three-run homer off Jamie Moyer in the fourth
inning, and Palmeiro, with a grand slam in the third off Moyer,
equaled the mark set by Barry Bonds and Rich Aurilia for San
Francisco last season. It was Palmeiro's 489th career homer.

Rodriguez played the final 1½ seasons of his 5½-year career in
Seattle at Safeco Field. He does not like the ballpark.

"I'll tell you, you have to hit it with an aluminum bat from
second base to hit a home run here,'' he said. "I've never seen a
ballpark so challenging to hit in. That may be one of the best
balls I hit all year.''

The Rangers took a 7-2 lead on Rodriguez's major league-leading
56th homer.

The Mariners tied it at 7 in the seventh on a double by Jeff
Cirillo and a wild pitch by Rudy Seanez.

Bret Boone had an RBI single for Seattle off starter Ben
Kozlowski, a 6-foot-6 left-hander making his major league debut, in
the fourth. In the sixth, Boone hit a three-run homer off Todd Van
Poppel, his 23rd.

Kozlowski, the 12th pitcher to start for the Rangers this
season, went five innings and gave up three runs on six hits and
eight walks, with three strikeouts. The eight walks tied the Texas
season high.

Game notes
Everett is day-to-day. ... Rodriguez's 56 homers tied Ken
Griffey Jr. for the sixth-most in AL history. Rodriguez also leads
the majors with 138 RBI. He has nine homers and 23 RBI against
the Mariners, his former team. ... Palmeiro hit his first grand
slam of 2002 and his first since he had a grand slam against the
Mariners' Norm Charlton April 6, 2001. ... Palmeiro had his 40th
career homer against Seattle, the second-highest total against a
team. He has 44 homers against Anaheim. ... Seattle won the season
series from Texas 13-7, but the Rangers won five of the last eight.