Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Seattle leads 1-0 (as of 4/4)

Game 1: Friday, April 4
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Texas4
Game 2: Saturday, April 5
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Game 3: Sunday, April 6
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Mariners 6

(2-2, 2-2 away)

Rangers 4

(1-3, 0-1 home)

2:05 PM ET, April 4, 2003

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

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SEA 100200210 6 9 0
TEX 020020000 4 7 0

W: R. Franklin (1-0)

L: F. Cordero (0-1)

S: K. Sasaki (1)

M's capitalize against Rangers' bullpen

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- So far, this looks like the same old Texas Rangers: Batters bashing baseballs and the bullpen blowing leads.

Four games into a new season with new manager Buck Showalter, the Rangers are right back where they finished the last three seasons -- alone in last place in the AL West.

Ruben Sierra and Hank Blalock hit two-run homers, but Rangers relievers gave up three late runs and the Seattle Mariners won 6-4 Friday to spoil Texas' home opener.

"It's certainly disappointing for us,'' Showalter said. "It's a concern, but it is a long season.''

Since a season-opening win at World Series champion Anaheim, the Rangers have lost three straight games, giving up 21 runs in two losses before Friday.

"Overall, the whole team is pressing a little bit,'' said All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who was 0-for-4 to fall to .167 on the season. "We just have to let the game come to us.''

Ben Davis, batting ninth for Seattle while filling in for injured catcher Dan Wilson, hit a two-run double in the seventh to put the Mariners ahead 5-4 and cap a two-out rally against reliever Francisco Cordero.

After relieving Ismael Valdes to start the seventh, Cordero (0-1) got two quick outs, including a strikeout against Mike Cameron on a 97 mph fastball. He then walked Mark McLemore and Jeff Cirillo on full counts before Davis doubled to the center field wall.

"He was throwing pretty hard, but I choked up and was able to hit it in the gap,'' Davis said.

"I left a fastball over the plate. That's what happens,'' said Cordero, who threw just 20 of his 41 pitches for strikes.

Kazuhiro Sasaki struck out four batters in the ninth for his first save. Sasaki, who threw a wild pitch on a third strike to Carl Everett, became the 41st pitcher since 1900 to strike out four batters in an inning.

Sasaki, who had elbow surgery after last season, had blown his only other save opportunity, giving up a run and two hits in an inning against Oakland on Thursday.

"I wanted to go in there today and do my job, and I did that,'' Sasaki said through a translator.

Texas led the majors in homers the past two seasons, and already has an AL-high eight this season. Those homers have accounted for 14 of the team's 15 runs.

The Rangers also set major league records with 38 relief losses and 33 blown saves last season.

Esteban Yan, signed to improve the bullpen, took over in the eighth and like Cordero got two quick outs. Yan then gave up three straight singles, and after McLemore's RBI single, he hit Cirillo to load the bases. Aaron Fultz struck out Davis on three pitches.

"We don't always like it like that, but it builds character to come back,'' said first-year Mariners manager Bob Melvin, who is 2-2 after losing his first two games. "When you get runs with two outs, it builds confidence.''

Ryan Franklin (1-0) pitched six-plus innings in his first start of the season, leaving after Michael Young led off the seventh with a single. Franklin gave up four runs and six hits.

Valdes, the opening night winner, was again effective despite a recurring problem a blistered finger on his pitching hand. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- on four hits over six innings.

He left after 84 pitches (54 strikes), and Showalter said he would have gone another inning without the blister.

Edgar Martinez put the Mariners ahead 1-0 with his first homer, on the 10th pitch Valdes threw.

After Randy Winn led off the fourth with a double, Martinez hit an RBI single.

Valdes then threw a ball away when he made a pickoff throw to first, but Rafael Palmeiro was playing off the base against the 40-year-old Martinez. Mike Cameron's two-out double drove Martinez home for a 3-2 lead.

Martinez finished 3-for-5, including a single in the ninth off new Rangers closer Ugueth Urbina.

Sierra lined a two-run homer to center after Juan Gonzalez led off the second with a single. Sierra played last year for the Mariners, but returned as a free agent for his third stint with Texas.

Blalock homered in the fifth after Einar Diaz's leadoff double.

Diaz made his home debut as the replacement for 10-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who left as a free agent to Florida. It was the first time since 1991 that Rodriguez wasn't behind the plate for Texas in a home opener.

Game notes


NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith, a former Dallas Cowboy who signed with Arizona last week, threw out the first pitch -- a strike. He got a standing ovation. ... Texas relievers have accounted for 16 of the 34 innings pitched this season. ... Blalock has hit in all four games. As a rookie last season, he had a hit in his first at-bat before an 0-for-17 slump. ... Sasaki is the second Mariner to strike out four batters in an inning. Matt Young did it Sept. 9, 1990.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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