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Seattle drops two games behind BoSox

9/17/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Gil Meche had a bad feeling Tuesday
afternoon. Then the day got worse.

Meche allowed four homers over 2 1-3 innings in the
second-shortest start of his major league career, and the Seattle
Mariners lost to the Texas Rangers 10-5.

Seattle dropped 2{ games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race,
and Meche fell to 0-3 with a 14.29 ERA in three starts at Texas
this season.

"Every one has been a disaster," Meche said. "I didn't feel
good about it before the game. You pitch away from contact and make
a lot of mistakes. You start to tighten up on the mound."

Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 44th homer, and
rookie Laynce Nix homered twice for Texas.

Hank Blalock had a three-run homer for the Rangers, who opened a
9-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Seattle has lost three straight and is 6-8 in September. The
Mariners have 11 games left, all against the AL West.

"It's time to lay it on the line," said Seattle's Bret Boone,
who had three hits. "We can't put our tails between our legs and
go home. We've got to look into the mirror when this is over. We
don't want to be sliding now, but that's the reality. We can't turn
back the clock."

Rodriguez homered in the first inning, his fifth homer in his
last six games. He had three hits and three RBI.

Meche (15-11) allowed eight runs and seven hits. Blalock had a
three-run homer in a five-run third, and Nix had two-run drives in
the second and third.

"I left one up to A-Rod -- he got one there," Meche said. "In
the second, it happened all over again. I was bad tonight. No
getting around it. The pitches I left up, they hit out of the
ballpark. When you make mistakes here, the ballpark's not going to
hold them."

Boone said Meche shouldn't express concern about a particular
ballpark.

"Our park is a pitchers' park, this is a hitters' park, you
can't worry about it," Boone said. "He had a difficult day, it
happens. I'm not getting down on Gil. That's just the way it is."

Seattle manager Bob Melvin said Meche struggled with all of his
pitches.

"They hit his fastball, they hit breaking balls and
changeups," Melvin said. "It happened the same way the last time
he was here. They hit everything he threw up there. Then when you
get down 9-0, it puts more pressure on the offense."

John Thomson (13-13) gave up three runs and nine hits in eight
innings.

Nix, Michael Young and Mark Teixeira all had three hits for the
Rangers, who had lost nine of their previous 11. Nix matched his
career high with four RBI.

Seattle ended Thomson's shutout bid with a three-run eighth that
included RBI singles by Boone and Edgar Martinez. Erasmo Ramirez
gave up two more runs in the ninth.

"The last inning got a little sloppy," Rangers manager Buck
Showalter said. "John (Thomson) was outstanding. He deserved a
better fate."

Game notes
Nix had his first career multihomer game. ... The Mariners
are 9-9 against the Rangers this season. Texas has won five of its
last seven against Seattle. ... Thomson had lost his previous three
starts. ... Texas starters have thrown at least eight innings nine
times this season, seven by Thomson. ... Meche's shortest start
came when he lasted 1 2-3 innings in a 7-1 loss against Tampa Bay
on Aug. 4, 1999.