<
>

Martinez has two-run homer

5/8/2004

SEATTLE (AP) -- Edgar Martinez stood at second base for the first
standing ovation. He was deep inside the clubhouse for the next
one.

Martinez hit a two-run homer and drove in two more runs with his
500th career double, leading the Seattle Mariners over the New York
Yankees 6-2 on Friday night.

"He's too old. He shouldn't be playing anymore," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said jokingly before giving Martinez a respectful
nod. "He sure knows how to hit. He has a plan every time he's at
the plate."

Martinez was cheered as he stood at second in the first inning
after he became the 39th player since 1900 to hit 500 doubles. It
drove in Randy Winn and Scott Spiezio to put the Mariners ahead
2-0.

"I haven't hit the ball hard in probably three weeks,"
Martinez said. "Today was a good day. We won and I felt better at
the plate. It felt good to be able to help the team and at the same
time to get the win."

After the inning, his milestone was announced again -- a
potential curtain call. Unfortunately for his adoring fans, the
slugger was inside the clubhouse looking for another bat.

"I broke my bat and I went down to find another," he explained
with a smile. "I didn't know that I had a standing ovation. I
apologize to the fans for that. I felt terrible when I heard they
clapped for two minutes."

Ryan Franklin (2-2) pitched into the seventh, a strong
performance in front of the largest crowd in Safeco Field history.

"When the stands are packed like that, it gets your adrenaline
going more than usual," Franklin said. "Especially with the
Yankees in town and the kind of team they've got, with their
offense. You raise your level a little bit."

New York's Jon Lieber (1-1) made his second start of the year
after missing last season following Tommy John surgery. He allowed
six runs and nine hits in six innings, with two strikeouts and a
wild pitch that gave up a run.

The Yankees lost their second straight after an eight-game
winning streak.

Franklin allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and
four walks, then turned it over to Shigetoshi Hasegawa to
extinguish a Yankees threat.

Hasegawa inherited runners at first and second, and he allowed a
two-out RBI single by Derek Jeter that pulled the Yankees to 6-2.
But Alex Rodriguez popped out in foul territory.

From the start, the crowd of 46,491 was as charged up as
Seattle's bats, which produced 12 hits.

"It was a special thing tonight," Martinez said. "The fans
were really into the game. We pitched well. We got some big hits.
Everything worked out great."

Fans booed lustily every time Rodriguez stepped into the
batter's box. The former Mariner left after the 2000 season for a
$252 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

"I love playing here," Rodriguez said. "It's an awesome place
to play. To me, the boo is a bit perplexing, which is good. I don't
know if there's anything mean behind it."

The fans cheered with abandon for a pair of big hits by
Martinez.

After Seattle added a run in the second on Ichiro Suzuki's RBI
single to center, Martinez came up in the third and drove an 0-1
pitch from Lieber for a near-milestone -- career home run No. 299 to
make it 5-0.

Martinez, arguably one of the top designated hitters in history,
was asked if he warrants a Hall of Fame spot.

"I don't know about that," he said. "You have to look at all
the numbers: home runs, doubles, average. When you compare the
totals, maybe it will be enough for me to be in the Hall of Fame.

"If I had 500 home runs, it might make a big difference. I
don't know if doubles would be considered," he added.

New York pulled to 5-1 in the fifth, when Hideki Matsui led off
with a single to center and scored on Kenny Lofton's one-out single
up the middle. There was a close play at the plate, and Seattle
manager Bob Melvin came out to protest.

That put Franklin in a jam. Enrique Wilson, who walked, was on
second and Lofton on first. But Franklin recovered, freezing Jeter
on a called third strike and then, to the delight of fans, getting
Rodriguez swinging.

"I kind of invented a pitch there," Franklin said. "I threw
him a front-door slider that started at his hip and tried to break
it over the inside corner."

Game notes
The roof was closed one hour before the first pitch. There
was scattered rain through the afternoon and the forecast called
for thundershowers. ... The record crowd came one night after the
smallest of the season: 25,418 for the finale of a three-game set
with Minnesota.