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Olerud knocks in decisive run in top of ninth

4/20/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- John Olerud's steady bat helped the Seattle Mariners overcome another late-inning collapse by their suddenly unsteady bullpen.

Olerud's second RBI single of the game broke a tie in the ninth
inning and lifted Seattle to a 7-6 victory over the Anaheim Angels
after the Mariners blew a three-run lead in the eighth against Jeff Nelson and Arthur Rhodes.

On Saturday night, the Angels rallied with three in the ninth
against closer Kazuhiro Sasaki to win 7-6.

"We could have come out of here with a sweep,'' said Nelson,
who gave up two of the runs in the eighth. "We have a good bullpen
that usually comes in and shuts the door, and it just didn't happen
this time. But they have some good hitters. They scrap, they take a
lot of pitches and they make the pitchers throw strikes. So
obviously, with the lineup they have, they're going to come back a
few times -- no matter what kind of bullpen you have.''

Seattle's Bret Boone, who gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead in the
fifth with a solo homer, triggered a two-run ninth with a leadoff
double against Angels closer Troy Percival (0-1) and scored on
Olerud's hit to center, putting the Mariners back in front 6-5.

Olerud went to second on rookie outfielder Julio Ramirez's wild
throw to the plate, which bounced off the mound. Olerud tagged up
on Mike Cameron's fly to right and scored when Eric Owens' throw
bounced into the stands behind third base.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-0) earned the victory, retiring Chone
Figgins on a flyball with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
Sasaki got three outs for his fourth save in seven chances,
allowing an RBI single by Scott Spiezio.

Sasaki, who blew Saturday's game, struck out Brad Fullmer with
runners on first and second to end it.

"We feel like we're never out of a game, no matter what the
score is,'' Anaheim's David Eckstein said. "I just wish every once
in a while we do it a little bit earlier in the game to give our
starting pitchers a little more help.''

Mariners starter Ryan Franklin allowed two runs and six hits in
seven innings, including a two-run homer in the first inning by
Garret Anderson.

The Angels opened the eighth with singles by Eckstein, Spiezio
and Salmon against Nelson to make it 5-3.

Anderson greeted Rhodes with a single to right that would have
loaded the bases, except pinch-runner Ramirez was trapped off
second when Spiezio was held at third. Troy Glaus walked to load
the bases and Shawn Wooten tied it one-out later with a two-run
single.

"Wow. Those guys proved they still have what they had last
year,'' Boone said. "They're never out of it. They came back on
two pretty darn good relievers in Nellie and Arthur. That doesn't
happen to them too often.''

After his critical mistakes in the field and on the bases,
Ramirez popped out to catcher Dan Wilson on an attempted sacrifice
bunt while trying to advance the tying run to second in the ninth.

"Part of the test up here in the major leagues is the ability
to handle when you try to achieve and you don't,'' Angels manager
Mike Scioscia said. "In Julio's defense, he hasn't been out there
a lot. You need to get into the flow of a game and a season, so you
can execute and create things. It's not an easy role that Julio has
-- to sit there for a week without playing and having to pinch run
or play defense in the late innings.''

Anaheim starter Jarrod Washburn gave up four runs and eight hits
over 6 1/3 innings.

Willie Bloomquist singled his first two times up -- giving him
eight hits in his first nine career at-bats against Washburn.
Washburn struck him out his next time up as catcher Bengie Molina
hung onto a foul tip.

The Mariners made it 4-2 in the seventh when Ichiro Suzuki led
off with his second double and scored on Olerud's RBI single that
chased Washburn.

Randy Winn added an RBI single in the eighth against Francisco
Rodriguez.

Anderson opened the scoring with his second homer after a
two-out single by Salmon.

But the Mariners tied it with two in the third. Wilson led off
with his first homer of the season, and Suzuki scored from third
when first baseman Spiezio robbed Olerud of a hit with a diving
stop of his grounder in the hole.

Game notes
The Angels play the Yankees (15-3) Tuesday for the first
time since beating them in the AL division series. ... The Angels
were 9-10 the first time around the AL West, and the Mariners were
11-8 -- after going 15-4 last year. Neither team plays within its
own division again until June 16. ... The Mariners are 7-0 in day
games, after going 25-20 last year. ... Angels CF Darin Erstad was
scratched for the first time this season because of an inflamed
tendon in his right hamstring. He will undergo an MRI on Monday to
determine whether there is a cartilage tear.