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Blalock sends fans home happy with game-ending hit

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Hank Blalock and the Texas Rangers
figure they still have a lot to play for in the final month of the
season.

Blalock's RBI double with one out in the bottom of the ninth
lifted the Rangers to a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on
Saturday night.

"Even though we're out of it, it's pretty exciting," Blalock
said. "Any team gets excited over a come-from-behind win."

Seattle took a 6-5 lead into the ninth and had closer Eddie
Guardado (2-3) on the mound, but pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa's leadoff
homer tied it. Guardado had his fifth blown save of the season and
second against the Rangers.

After Michael Young singled and Mark Teixeira struck out,
Blalock hit a line drive to right-center for a double. Young raced
to third and was waved home by third-base coach Steve Smith.

Right fielder Raul Ibanez fired to second baseman Jose Lopez,
whose relay to catcher Yorvit Torrealba was high. A sliding Young
dragged his hand on the plate before Torrealba could get the tag
down and the Rangers had their fourth straight victory.

Young leaped in celebration as his teammates streamed out of the
dugout after Texas' sixth walk-off win of the season.

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard and it got into the
gap," Blalock said. "I was just trying to get a pitch I could
drive to move (Young) along."

The Mariners didn't argue the call at the plate.

"I tagged him but he was safe," Torrealba said.

Guardado converted 27 consecutive save opportunities earlier in
the season, but he hasn't been pleased with his results lately.

"That's what happens when you throw the ball right down the
middle," Guardado said. "I've been struggling my last few
outings. My location is off. I'm surprised Blalock didn't put it in
the upper deck. I don't feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for my
teammates."

DeRosa's homer was the Rangers' 247th this season, breaking the
club record of 246 set in 2001. Texas leads the majors in homers
and has an AL-record 147 at home, two short of the major league
home mark set by Colorado in 1996.

Brian Shouse (3-2) allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings for the win.

Alfonso Soriano and rookie Jason Botts had three hits each for
Texas.

Ichiro Suzuki had three hits despite a sore foot and Richie
Sexson homered for the Mariners, who blew a five-run lead.

Suzuki wasn't in his customary position in right field after
being hit on the right foot by a pitch on Friday night. But as the
designated hitter he had enough speed for a triple and a bunt
single.

Sexson's 37th homer in the eighth with the bases empty off
Edison Volquez stretched Seattle's lead to 6-4. Sexson also tripled
in the first.

Seattle's Yuniesky Betancourt had three hits, including a pair
of doubles.

Suzuki scored the game's first run after leading off the game
with a single off Kenny Rogers. Sexson's RBI triple and Lopez's
run-scoring single extended Seattle's lead to 3-0 later in the
first.

In the second, Torrealba hit a one-out double, Suzuki had a bunt
single and both scored on Betancourt's double to make it 5-0.

Texas pulled within 5-2 in the bottom half on RBI singles by
Kevin Mench and Botts. Botts had his first major league hit and RBI
while playing in his second game.

Gary Matthews Jr.'s RBI groundout in the fourth and Teixeira's
run-scoring single in the fifth made it 5-4.

After allowing seven hits in the first two innings, Rogers'
sinker kicked in and he had seven straight groundball outs from the
second into the fourth until Suzuki's two-out triple.

Rogers gave up five runs and eight hits in seven innings. He
struck out four and didn't issue a walk.

Rod Barajas' RBI single in the eighth off J.J. Putz got Texas
within 6-5.

Game notes
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was on hand for the Rangers'
"Spirit of New Orleans" event. A total of 2,200 Hurricane Katrina
evacuees received free transportation, tickets, food and
entertainment that included a Dixieland jazz band. Nagin has moved
his family to Dallas while their hometown is under repair. ...
Lopez was back in the Seattle lineup after missing Friday night's
game due to a sore wrist. ... Suzuki has started 145 of Seattle's
148 games in right field this season and has two starts at DH. ...
Soriano had his 25th stolen base and has 14 straight successful
steals. ... Young has a 15-game hitting streak, longest active in
the AL.