Call-ups' contributions keep M's slim hopes alive

SEATTLE (AP) -- Scott Podsednik and Willie Bloomquist spent most of the season in the minors. Now, they're keeping the Seattle Mariners' dim playoff prospects alive.

Podsednik's eighth-inning RBI single lifted the Mariners to an
8-7 win over Oakland on Tuesday night, as Seattle avoided
elimination from playoff contention and denied the A's a chance to
close in on the AL West title.

``This team will not let down,'' said Podsednik, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Sept. 4. ``We will not die. We're going to determine if we win or not.''

Earlier in the inning, Bloomquist hit a ground-rule double deep off the warning track. Called up on Sept. 1, he has had seven hits in two games.

``I'm just trying to keep things simple and not think about the 40,000 people watching me,'' Bloomquist said. ``This is a blast.''

A loss would have eliminated the Mariners from postseason
contention. Instead, Podsednik's two-out single capped a four-run
comeback in the eighth inning and kept Seattle in the wild-card

``That was quite an eighth inning,'' said Seattle manager Lou Piniella. ``We got four runs. We hit the ball hard. We got some clutch hits. We stay alive for another day.''

The Athletics blew a 7-2 lead and had their five-game winning
streak stopped. They still lead the AL West by three games over
Anaheim, and their magic number is two.

``That's the only good thing that came out of tonight,'' said
Oakland manager Art Howe.

The defeat, however, dropped the A's behind the New York Yankees
in the chase for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
Both teams are 99-58, but the Yankees hold the tiebreaker.

``The mood on the team was that we had this one in the bag,'' said Barry Zito, who was poised to pick up his league-leading 23rd victory before the Athletics' bullpen wasted a late 7-4 lead.

``We are not really relaxed,'' Zito said. ``We know we are in the postseason. I think we need to drive the nail in, at least by winning the West. ... The biggest thing that we need to do is not get complacent.''

Oakland had been 81-1 when leading after seven innings.

The Mariners, who set an AL record with 116 victories last
season, were in first place as late as Aug. 22, when the A's took
their place.

Jeff Cirillo hit an RBI single off Ricardo Rincon with one out in the eighth inning and Bloomquist had an RBI double with two outs that made it 7-6.

Jeff Tam (1-2) relieved and gave up Bret Boone's tying double
and Podsednik's single. Boone had been 0-for-11 against Tam.

``He's been very tough on me,'' Boone said. ``I think that's my
first hit. I was standing on deck and said to Podsednik, 'I've
never got a hit off him before. I'm due.'''

Terrence Long misplayed the ball, and the crowd was roaring when
it dropped.

``I thought I had it,'' Long said. ``I got a good jump. I took
my eye off the ball a little bit late to pick up the wall, but
that's no excuse.''

Podsednik came next, driving a single up the middle.

``He left the ball over the plate, I got the bat on it and it had some meat,'' Podsednik said. ``It felt good. It ranks right up there with my first (major league) at-bat.''

Shigetoshi Hasegawa (8-2) got the win and Arthur Rhodes got his second save.

Jermaine Dye and Eric Chavez each had three hits for Oakland.
Fans booed and started leaving Safeco Field after Dye scored on a
wild pitch in the top of the seventh, giving Oakland a 7-2 lead.

``We had them right where we wanted and didn't finish the
deal,'' Howe said. ``They know there was no tomorrow. They battled
to the end but we helped them a little along the way.''

Zito, who has won seven straight decisions, allowed three earned
runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Ismael Valdes lasted only four innings, leaving with a 4-1
deficit after allowing eight hits.

Zito escaped a sixth-inning jam with only an unearned run that
got Seattle within 5-2. He loaded the bases with one out, but
struck out Mike Cameron looking, walked Carlos Guillen to make it
5-2, then got Ben Davis to fly out.

The Mariners finally chased Zito in the seventh, scoring twice
with one out to pull within 7-4 after singles by Ichiro Suzuki,
Bloomquist, Boone and Edgar Martinez.

Through five innings, Zito efficiently limited the Mariners to
four hits. Suzuki's first-pitch home run leading off the game put
Seattle ahead 1-0, but Oakland took over with three runs in the

Game notes
Guillen's walk was Seattle's 17th this season with the bases loaded, most in the majors. ... Oakland is trying to become the 18th team to win 100 games in consecutive years. The last was
the Atlanta Braves in 1997, 1998 and 1999. ... David Justice was batting when play was interrupted by a streaker in the top of the fifth. ... Suzuki hit a first-pitch leadoff homer, his fifth leadoff HR this season. It also was the sixth of his career,
breaking Joey Cora's team record.