Cameron's HR keeps M's slim hopes alive


SEATTLE (AP) -- It's beginning to look like 1995 for the Seattle
Mariners again.

Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Mariners once again rallied to stave off elimination, beating Oakland 3-2 Wednesday night and preventing the Athletics from winning the AL West.

With four games left, the Mariners (92-66) still have a chance to catch Anaheim (96-62) in the wild-card chase. The Angels lost 4-3 at Texas. The Angels play one more at Texas before hosting the Mariners in a three-game set to close out the regular season.

"We were chasing Anaheim in '95 and it's the same case right now,'' Edgar Martinez said. '' '95 was great for the whole month of September. We've kind of struggled a little bit in September, but now at the end we're playing well and we have a chance.''

In 1995, the Mariners trailed by 13 games on Aug. 13 and then caught the Angels and beat them in a one-game playoff to reach the postseason for the first time.

If Seattle does catch Anaheim, the teams will play in Seattle on Monday in a one-game playoff for the wild card. After the teams wind up series Thursday, the Mariners are at Anaheim for three this weekend.

"At least we're alive for another day,'' Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "It's down now to Thursday. Our goal actually is to take it back to Anaheim to give ourselves a chance. We'll see what happens tomorrow.''

Seattle won its fourth in a row. On Tuesday night, the Mariners scored four times in the eighth to overcome Oakland 8-7.

"We are happy with what is going on in Texas, but we are a little frustrated with having missed these opportunities,'' said A's manager Art Howe, whose team lost a chance to clinch a tie for the AL West title. "But if it's going to happen, it is better to happen now than next week (when Oakland is in the playoffs).''

Cameron hit his 24th homer with one out, a 422-foot shot that hit the out-of-town scoreboard at Safeco Field, after a single by Bret Boone off Jim Mecir (6-4). Luis Ugueto was pinch running for

Ricardo Rincon came into the game for Tim Hudson and struck out John Olerud before Mecir entered and gave up a single to Boone, the
first homer Mecir allowed since May 30 in a streak of 178 batters.

"Boy, did he hit it,'' Piniella said. "He hit it off that scoreboard. I knew it was out as soon as he hit it and so did Cammy.''

Cameron, who leads the AL with 170 strikeouts, homered on a 1-0 fastball from Mecir. He compared his dramatic homer to tying the major league record with four homers in Chicago against the White Sox May 2.

He thinks all the pressure is on the Angels now.

"I'm sure they're starting to feel a little bit jittery over there,'' Cameron said. "It sounds so easy to win just one game. But I don't think Texas is going to give in to them.''

Arthur Rhodes (10-4) got the victory, with Kazuhiro Sasaki getting two outs for his 37th save in 44 opportunities.

Hudson outpitched Jamie Moyer before leaving the game after
making 92 pitches.

Scott Hatteberg accounted for Oakland's runs with a two-run homer in the third inning.

In seven innings, Hudson gave up a run on eight hits and one
walk with three strikeouts. He hit a batter.

Moyer went seven innings and allowed two runs on six hits and
one walk, with four strikeouts and a wild pitch.

The A's took a 2-0 lead in the third when Ramon Hernandez opened
with a single and Hatteberg had a one-out homer, a 399-foot shot to
center. It was Hatteberg's 15th homer of the season.

The Mariners scored in the fifth when rookie Willie Bloomquist singled, stole second, went to third on catcher Hernandez's throwing error and Olerud's single.

Hatteberg and Boone each had three hits.

Despite the loss, the A's can clinch the AL West title Thursday if they win or Anaheim loses.

Game notes
Seattle's 92 victories are the second most in the team's
25-year history. The Mariners tied the major league record with 116
victories last season. ... The Mariners will break their
single-season attendance record of 3,507,975 set last season in
their final home game Thursday. Wednesday night's crowd of 39,776
increased their 2002 attendance for 80 dates to 3,494,836. The
Mariners have drawn 3 million fans for three straight seasons and
for four times (also in 1997) in their 25-year history. ... Piniella walked slowly to second-base umpire Ed Rapuano to ask about a call after Oakland CF Terrence Long made a diving catch of Ichiro Suzuki's sinking line drive to open the fifth. Piniella argued Long trapped the ball. ... In his fourth major league start, Bloomquist had his first major league steal. ... Moyer was tagged for his 28th homer of the season.