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Game-winning single beats Angels

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels made a rare five-man
infield work for them and still couldn't win a critical game in the
tight AL West race.

Greg Dobbs singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth
inning, giving the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles
on Tuesday night and preventing the Angels from widening their lead
over second-place Oakland.

Los Angeles lost its second straight game against the Mariners
and failed to take advantage of the Athletics' 5-2 loss at
Cleveland. The Angels (81-63) lead the A's (80-64) by one game and
scored just one run for the second straight night.

"It doesn't matter what you lose by," Darin Erstad said. "We
are obviously pitching fantastic, but, hitting-wise, it has been
hit or miss. It's been very frustrating."

With the score 1-1, Jeremy Reed reached on a bunt single against
Paul Byrd (11-10) leading off the ninth and took third on Raul
Ibanez's single.

Scot Shields relieved, and the Angels brought in center fielder
Maicer Izturis, creating their five-man infield. Richie Sexson
grounded into an unusual 4-8-3 double play started by second
baseman Adam Kennedy, who threw to Izturis, who then threw to
Erstad at first.

"If they do hit the ball on the ground, we're trying to make
the most of it and force the action," Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said. "That part of it worked. Unfortunately, we couldn't close it
out."

Reed held on the play, and the Angels intentionally walked
Adrian Beltre, who took second on defensive indifference. Dobbs
then singled to center on a 1-0 pitch to end it.

"I wasn't trying to hit the ball 600 feet," Dobbs said.

Dobbs, 27, Seattle's designated hitter, watched attentively from
the bench when Izturis joined the Angels' infield.

"Interesting," Dobbs said with a smile. "It worked for them.
I'd never seen that before in my career."

Seattle got its 63rd win, matching the Mariners' total last
season.

"I don't look at this as a last-place team," Byrd said. "Even
though they have some young guys, they've played well against us
and we don't underestimate them."

Byrd allowed two runs -- one earned -- and eight hits in
eight-plus innings, throwing 86 pitches. He had been 6-0 against
Seattle in his career coming in.

"I still felt like I had 30 pitches left," he said. "I felt
like I could throw 11 or 12 innings tonight. That's what so tough.
It was kind of a wasted start for me."

The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on a hard
single by Orlando Cabrera off Beltre's glove at third, Garret
Anderson's ground-rule double and an intentional walk to Vladimir
Guerrero, the first walk of the game.

George Sherrill then replaced Ryan Franklin and got Erstad to
ground to Beltre, who stepped on third for the forceout and threw
to catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who tagged out Cabrera for a double
play. J.J. Putz (6-5) relieved and got Bengie Molina to ground out.

"You've got to be able to handle the pressure," Sherrill said.
"You can't be afraid of failure."

Seattle went ahead in the third when Byrd threw wildly to first
on Ichiro Suzuki's bunt to the third-base side, allowing Yuniesky
Betancourt to score from second.

Franklin, suspended from Aug. 2-11 after testing positive for
steroids, allowed a tying single to Molina with two outs in the
seventh. Franklin is 0-3 in seven starts since beating Cleveland on
July 30.

"I think it's important to pitch well against everyone,"
Franklin said. "It doesn't matter if you're playing against a
contender or a third- or fourth-place team."

Game notes
Chone Figgins extended his hitting streak to 12 games, one
shy of his season high, with a single in the first. Figgins then
was caught stealing for the 15th time this season, second most in
the AL behind the Chicago's Scott Podsednik (20).20