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Mariners off to their worst start ever

4/15/2004

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Chone Figgins and Jeff DaVanon waited
patiently for Mike Scioscia to call on them.

When the Anaheim manager finally did, they delivered.

DaVanon, a late-inning defensive replacement, hit a tiebreaking
sacrifice fly in the ninth after Figgins stole second and third as
a pinch runner, and the Angels overcame Troy Percival's first blown
save of the season to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5 Wednesday
night.

"That's the fun thing about playing for Scioscia. You always
have a chance to get into the game every day," Figgins said. "And
when you get in there, he says, `Be aggressive and make sure you
always try to create havoc.' I'm very fortunate to have a manager
like that who lets me use my speed at any time."

Mike Myers (0-1) walked Vladimir Guerrero to open the ninth and
Figgins ran for him. Julio Mateo hit Jose Guillen on the left hand
with a 3-2 pitch before DaVanon came through with a flyball to
right field on 2-2.

Tim Salmon broke out of a season-opening 4-for-30 slump with
three hits, three RBI and his first home run of the season.

Bret Boone homered for the Mariners, whose 1-7 start is the
worst in the franchise's 28-year history.

"It's about as frustrating as it can be right now. We're
playing just good enough to lose, every day," Boone said. "Except
for the first two games, we've been in every game until the end."

Percival (1-0), the Angels' career saves leader, couldn't
protect a 5-4 lead in his third save opportunity of the season. But
he retired John Olerud, Edgar Martinez and Boone in order with
runners at second and third, and got credit for the victory --
Anaheim's seventh straight over Seattle.

Seattle's Dave Hansen led off the ninth with a single and
pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist stole second. Dan Wilson batted for
Ben Davis and sliced an opposite-field RBI single on a full count
to tie it at 5-all.

"I threw the pitches I wanted to throw, but those first couple
of guys gave me good at-bats," Percival said.

Salmon, the Angels' career leader in home runs, hit his first of
the season in the fourth off Freddy Garcia to put Anaheim up 4-2
after a leadoff single by Guillen. It also was Salmon's first homer
in 39 career at-bats off Garcia, who had a 10-2 record and 2.24 ERA
in his 17 previous starts against them.

"He's a tough pitcher and he's got great stuff," Salmon said.
"It seems like I squeak out a hit here and there against him -- but
nothing like tonight."

Salmon's three RBI matched his total through the first eight
games.

"The last three or four days, I've really been taking good
swings in batting practice and just feeling like it's going to
click. And tonight it did," he said. "When you're hitting the
ball like I did tonight, you want to get back in there and keep
hitting."

Garcia was charged with five runs, 13 hits and no walks in
six-plus innings after pitching seven scoreless innings against the
Angels without a decision last Thursday at Seattle.

The Mariners got a run closer in the fifth when Ichiro Suzuki
singled and scored from first on Olerud's double to left-center.
But Salmon responded in the bottom half with an RBI single.

Hansen, getting his first start of the season at third base,
chased Anaheim starter Ramon Ortiz with an RBI single in the sixth
that narrowed the gap to 5-4 after a two-out double by Randy Winn.

Garret Anderson had a leadoff single in the second inning,
advanced to third on Salmon's double and scored the game's first
run on Adam Kennedy's dribbler to first base. Shane Halter
delivered Salmon with a two-out double to right-center.

Boone tied it in the fourth with his third homer, driving an 0-1
pitch to center field after a leadoff single by Martinez.

Guerrero, Anaheim's regular right fielder, was the designated
hitter for the second straight game. He got thrown out at the plate
in the seventh by left fielder Raul Ibanez, who caught Kennedy's
flyball and turned it into an inning-ending double play with a
one-hop peg to Davis.

Ortiz allowed four runs, eight hits and three walks over 5 2-3
innings and struck out six.

Game notes
Suzuki fouled a pitch off his right foot and hobbled around
for about a minute before getting back in the batter's box. He
stayed in the game. ... Mariners 3B Scott Spiezio, who began the
season on the DL because of back spasms, will begin a rehab
assignment at Class-A San Bernardino on Thursday. ... The only
Seattle pitcher to get a win so far is reliever Shigetoshi
Hasegawa. The eight-game drought is the longest for Mariners
starters since August 2000 (13 games). ... The Mariners optioned
RHP Rafael Soriano to Class-A San Bernardino and recalled RHP J.J.
Putz from Triple-A Tacoma.