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Rangers beat struggling Mariners in 10th

9/19/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners don't have time to
figure out what's going wrong. They just need to win some games.

Seattle's playoff hopes took another blow Thursday when Texas
rookie Laynce Nix blooped an RBI single in the 10th inning to give
the Rangers a 2-1 win. The Mariners lost three of four to the AL
West's last-place team.

"We needed to come in and have a good series and we didn't,"
Bret Boone said. "We've been saying that for the last two weeks,
that we need to play well. And we haven't played well consistently.
... I'm out of good answers."

Seattle lost for the fourth time in five games and dropped 2½
games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox beat
Tampa Bay 4-3 Thursday night.

The Mariners trail AL West-leading Oakland by five games, with
six of their last nine games against the Athletics. The teams start
a three-game series Friday in Oakland and finish the regular season
the next weekend in Seattle.

"We were behind the 8-ball as it was, now we're a little
further behind," said Mariners manager Bob Melvin. "We have to go
in there and win. Tomorrow is the one we have to focus on now."

Alex Rodriguez led off the Texas 10th with a double into the
right-center gap off Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2-3), who intentionally
walked Rafael Palmeiro before walking Mark Teixeira on five
pitches, loading the bases. Nix then blooped a hit into left field.

"He kept it low and away, and I got enough of it," Nix said.
"It's a good feeling to win, period."

Texas had lost 18 of its previous 25 games, and is 24 games
behind the Athletics.

Hasegawa gave up a one-out single to Michael Young in the ninth
before Hank Blalock grounded into a double play. But after
Rodriguez hit a slider to start the 10th on a pitch away like
Hasegawa was trying to throw, the two walks loaded the bases with
no outs.

"You can't make any mistakes right there ... It's a borderline
Houdini act to try to get out of that," Melvin said.

Francisco Cordero (5-7) struck out four in two innings for the
win.

After getting through the middle of the order in the ninth with
two strikeouts, Cordero gave up a one-out single to Randy Winn in
the 10th. But Winn was caught stealing by catcher Todd Greene as
Rey Sanchez struck out.

Starting pitchers Freddy Garcia and Joaquin Benoit both allowed
just one hit through four shutout innings before the game was
stopped for 1 hour, 40 minutes because of rain. Neither returned
after the delay, and both teams used four pitchers after that.

Carlos Guillen's two-out homer in the sixth chased reliever
Erasmo Ramirez and gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers got the run right back when Shane Spencer led off
the bottom half against Julio Mateo with his 12th homer.

Garcia stretched his scoreless streak to 16 innings, and he's
allowed just one earned run over 19 innings (0.47 ERA) in his last
three starts. He struck out three and walked one.

The only hit off Garcia was Palmeiro's weak grounder to third
base, which was unoccupied because of Seattle's drastic defensive
shift against the left-handed slugger.

Benoit struck out five of the first nine Seattle batters, and
allowed only Guillen's one-out single in the fourth.

Benoit hadn't pitched since Sept. 5 because of a strained muscle
in his right shoulder. He had also made seven relief appearances
since his last start Aug. 7.

Right after the rain started in the bottom of the third,
Mariners shortstop Sanchez snagged Jermaine Clark's grounder up the
middle and flipped to Boone. The second baseman grabbed the slick
ball out of the air and threw in one motion to complete the
inning-ending double play.

Game notes
The season series ended tied 10-10. Seattle had won the
series each of the past three seasons. ... Seattle RF Ichiro Suzuki
is still four hits shy of his third straight 200-hit season after
going 0-for-3 with a walk. He has just 21 hits in his last 124
at-bats (.169), dropping his batting average from .340 to .307. ...
Arthur Rhodes pitched one inning for Seattle, leaving after
striking out Rodriguez and Palmeiro to start the seventh. ...
Palmeiro has a 10-game hitting streak.