Twins fall 7 1/2 games back in AL wild-card race

SEATTLE (AP) -- Rookie Jeremy Reed didn't take the bat off his shoulders in his decisive at-bat against Jesse Crain. It turned out to be a perfect strategy.

On a 3-2 pitch, Crain walked Reed with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to push across the tiebreaking run and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on
Monday night.

"You can swing at it and put a good swing on it and still get jammed or hit it off the end," Reed said. "So I was thinking more take."

The Mariners loaded the bases off Carlos Silva (7-6) and Crain on singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Willie Bloomquist and a two-out intentional walk to Adrian Beltre. Reed's walk, for his second RBI of the game, brought in Suzuki from third.

Reed felt all the pressure was on Crain in that situation.

"A hitter can put pressure on himself," he said. "I think I've done that a few times this year when you try to do too much. Luckily, this time I didn't put pressure on myself."

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he wasn't afraid to call for the intentional walk to Beltre because his pitching staff has issued the fewest walks in the majors by a wide margin this season. The walk to Reed was only the team's 235th of the season.

"We don't do that very often, but we invented it tonight," Gardenhire said. "We don't walk too many people. You can look at the stats and see that. You have to put Beltre on and go after the kid."

George Sherrill (1-0), a left-hander who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 31 after the Mariners traded left-hander Ron Villone to Florida, got the victory by getting two outs in the eighth. Sherrill hasn't allowed a hit or a run in four appearances and 4 1/3 innings with the Mariners this season.

"Hopefully, I'm here to stay," said Sherrill, who pitched in 21 games for Seattle as a 27-year-old rookie last season. "I just wanted a chance and it's working out."

Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 26th consecutive save and his 27th in 28 opportunities.

Silva fell to 0-3 in six starts since his last win on July 4. He pitched seven-plus innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and one walk, with five strikeouts.

"It feels good to have a four-run lead," Silva said. "It's too bad I couldn't hold the lead. I missed my spots a lot of times and I made a lot of bad pitches. Pitches up."

The loss dropped the Twins 7½ games back in the AL wild-card race.

"We can't get the big hit," said Matthew LeCroy, Minnesota's cleanup hitter Monday night. "In years past, we've been able to do it. We've got good pitching. We just cannot get a big hit in some situations."

The Twins took a 4-0 lead in the third on Shannon Stewart's two-run double, followed by an RBI double by Nick Punto and an RBI single by LeCroy.

Chris Snelling hit his second career homer in the bottom of the inning. An RBI double by Richie Sexson and Reed's run-scoring single in the fourth cut Minnesota's lead to 4-3.

The Mariners tied it at 4 on Bloomquist's run-scoring double in the fifth.

Seattle starter Gil Meche pitched five innings and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks, with two strikeouts.

Meche was hit in the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Stewart on the second pitch to open the game. He said he had some swelling in the forearm after the game.

"It hurt like ... when it first hit me," he said. "My hand a little numb right away, but a couple seconds later I was able to move my arm around and it felt better. It didn't bother me the rest of the time I was out there."

Game notes
Snelling, who was recalled from Tacoma on Friday to replace
the traded Randy Winn in left field, hit his first major-league homer at Tampa Bay on May 29, 2002. ... Meche is 5-1 in his career against Minnesota. ... With two doubles, Stewart had his 37th multihit game of the season, tops on the Twins. ... Sexson struck out twice and
is tied for the major-league lead with Cincinnati's Adam Dunn with 119.