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Halama strong in No. 5 spot; McLemore homers

4/10/2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Now that John Halama has earned a spot in
the Seattle Mariners rotation again, he wants to keep it.

"In my heart, I feel I'm a starter, and that's the mentality I
take," Halama said.

Halama allowed one run and four hits in six hits Tuesday night
in Seattle's 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels.

Halama (1-0) got the fifth spot in the rotation when Mariners
manager Lou Piniella decided to keep Joel Pineiro in the bullpen.

"He knows how to pitch and he's got good command," Piniella
said. "His last few times out in spring training he started
throwing the ball better and had a lot of life on his pitches. So
we gave him the opportunity to start, and tonight he made the most
of his opportunity."

Seattle catcher Ben Davis said he enjoyed working with Halama.

"John's a guy who knows he doesn't have overpowering stuff and
isn't going to blow guys away, but he uses what he has to his
advantage," Davis said. "They never really made the adjustments
tonight."

Halama, 30, was demoted to Triple-A twice last season -- pitching
the first nine-inning perfect game in Pacific Coast League history
for Tacoma during his first demotion and retiring 36 consecutive
batters over one stretch.

"I had surgery after the 2000 season, so there was some fatigue
in the elbow and my mechanics weren't as smooth last year," Halama
said. "This year, it's a little looser. I'm up on top better and I
have more life on my ball and a lot more movement."

Mark McLemore hit a two-run homer, helping the Mariners win for
the 10th straight time in Anaheim.

The homer came off Kevin Appier (0-1), who gave up two runs and
five hits in seven innings. Appier walked two and struck out six,
including Carlos Guillen all three times he faced him.

Appier took a 1-0 lead into the sixth before Davis led off with
a double over right fielder Tim Salmon's head, and McLemore
followed with a drive to right-center. The Angels were guarding
against the bunt in that situation.

"We were watching the bunt really heavy, and I threw a pretty
good anti-bunt pitch and he ended up swinging away," Appier said.
"I don't know if he guessed right, but he got a real good swing on
it and got it out."

It was McLemore's second home run in 339 career at-bats against
the team he began his major league career with in September 1986.

"I wanted to get Ben over to third," McLemore said. "I know
Appier's a great pitcher. He knows me and he knows what the
situation is. So he's going to keep the ball away from me.

"He painted a fastball on the first pitch and I just couldn't
get to it. So I felt, well, if he's going to be painting like that,
I might just take my chances swinging and try to pull the ball. I
hit it good. Whether it was going to go out or not, I didn't know
because I don't hit many."

Jose Nieves led off the Angels' fifth with a double, advanced on
Adam Kennedy's sacrifice and beat the throw home by McLemore on
David Eckstein's fly to shallow left field.

The Angels also threatened in the third, but Gold Glove center
fielder Mike Cameron raced to the alley in right-center to grab
Garret Anderson's drive on the dead run with runners at the corners
and two out.

Brendan Donnelly, 30, allowed three runs in the ninth in his
major league debut. Davis hit a two-run single and Cameron also
scored when center fielder Orlando Palmeiro booted the ball for an
error.

Game notes
The Mariners have not been scored on in the ninth inning in
their first eight games. ... Troy Glaus, 2-for-16 lifetime against
Halama, completed the two-game suspension he received for his role
in a bench-clearing brawl with San Diego during spring training.
... Appier was 6-0 in his previous 13 starts going back to last
season with the Mets, who traded him to the Angels for Mo Vaughn.
... Appier, 14-7 lifetime against Seattle, has more wins against
the Mariners than he has against any other opponent. But he has
lost four of his last five starts against them.