Boone remains hot since break, powers Mariners

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Bret Boone is making up for a slow first
half in time to help the Seattle Mariners make a playoff push.

Boone drove in four runs as the Seattle Mariners tried to keep
pace in the AL West with a 9-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals
on Saturday night.

Boone has driven in 42 runs since the All-Star break, giving him
96 on the season -- far short of his league-leading total of 141
last season.

"If I drive in 110-115, considering how I started out the first
three months, I'd be very happy with that,'' Boone said. "If I do
that, it's going to help our team. It means I had a strong

Seattle remained six games behind division-leading Oakland,
which has won 21 of 22 contests. The Mariners trail Anaheim by four
games in the AL wild-card race. The Angels have a nine-game winning

Edgar Martinez and John Olerud walked with two outs in the third
against Miguel Asencio (3-5) and scored on Boone's triple to
right-center to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead.

Boone's RBI groundout scored Martinez in a three-run seventh.
Ben Davis added a two-run single in the inning.

Boone, who had three RBI Friday, added an RBI single in the
eighth. Since the All-Star break, Boone is batting .357 with 42
RBI in 55 games.

Desi Relaford, who doubled twice in the game, scored on the

"It is good to see our offense is putting runs on the board,''
Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "That's what we're going to
need the rest of the way.''

Mariners starter Ryan Franklin (6-3) allowed two runs and six
hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up the victory. Franklin retired 11
in a row between Angel Berroa's double in the second and Carlos
Beltran's double in the sixth.

"I felt good about my game plan and Ben Davis did a great job
calling back there, and we came out with a win,'' Franklin said.
"I thought I had my A-game stuff tonight.''

Raul Ibanez drove in both Royals runs, giving him 98 RBI on the
season. Mike Sweeney went 1-for-4 for Kansas City, dropping his
American League-leading average to .342.

The Mariners manufactured a run in the fourth, which Mike
Cameron led off with a single, stole second and third, and scored
on Jeff Cirillo's sacrifice fly.

The Mariners increased their lead to 5-1 with an unearned run in
the sixth. Jose Offerman led off with a triple to the right-field
corner scored on Joe Randa's throwing error.

Relaford doubled in the first, advanced to third on Martinez'
fly out to center and scored on Asencio's wild pitch. Asencio
allowed five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in five-plus

Mike MacDougal, who was making his fourth big league appearances
and his first since last October 3, and Jeremy Hill, who was making
his big league debut, followed Asencio, a Rule 5 draft pick who
pitched in the Class A Florida State League last year to the mound.
The three combined to give up eight runs on nine hits and six walks
over seven innings.

"We have to be patient until we find a way to be consistent,''
Royals manager Tony Pena said.

Game notes
The Mariners lead the majors with 60 sacrifice flies. ...
Jeff Suppan, who starts Sunday for the Royals, has lost a club
record eight straight starts. Suppan has an 8.46 ERA during his
losing skid. Tom Gordon holds the club record with 10 straight
losing decisions in 1991-92. ... The Mariners are 14-15 on the road
since the All-Star break. They were 28-13 on the road before the
break. ... The Royals have committed an error in six straight
games, totaling 14 in that span. They have been charged with 118
errors, one more than they made all last season. ... The Royals
have allowed 35 runs in the past three games. ...The Royals have
lost 11 of their past 12 home games.