SEATTLE (AP) -- Free-swinging Richie Sexson likes the odds when
he comes up with the bases loaded.
"I've always felt good in bases-loaded situations because the
pitcher has his back to the wall," Sexson said. "He can't walk
Kenji Johjima hit a three-run homer for the last-place Mariners,
who won their third straight. They beat their third-place AL West
rivals for only the third time in 11 meetings this season and
pulled within four games of Texas. Seattle has won 11 of its last
13 games at Safeco Field.
Sexson is third in the AL with 136 strikeouts this season, but
he's been Mr. Clutch with the bases loaded, going 7-for-14 with 29
RBI and five of his team-leading 29 homers.
An All-Star with Milwaukee in 2002 and 2003, Sexson is one grand
slam from tying the major league record set by Don Mattingly of the
New York Yankees in his AL MVP year in 1985 and tied by Cleveland's
Travis Hafner this season.
"I'm running out of time," Sexson said.
Baek (3-0) made his fourth start since being recalled from
Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 22 to replace Jamie Moyer in Seattle's
rotation after the lefty was traded. Baek lowered his ERA to 2.22,
allowing four hits.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove isn't giving Baek a place in the
rotation for 2007 yet.
"I think every pitcher is a candidate for us right now,"
Hargrove said. "We've got a lot of open slots."
Baek isn't concerned about that, either.
"I just focus on right now," he said.
Joel Pineiro pitched two innings for his first career save.
Kevin Millwood (14-10), last season's AL ERA champion with
Cleveland before signing a $60 million, five-year contract with
Texas in December, didn't allow a hit in the first four innings.
Sexson and Ben Broussard singled to start the fifth before
Johjima, Seattle's 30-year-old rookie catcher from Japan, hit his
15th homer into the Texas bullpen in left field to put Millwood
"He made one of the few mistakes he made tonight," Rangers
manager Buck Showalter said.
Johjima said he was surprised Hargrove didn't give him a bunt
sign with runners on first and second.
"Then I tried to hit it as hard as I could," Johjima said
through a translator.
Sexson said he doesn't go to the plate thinking grand slam.
"I've always said a single up the middle for two runs is just
as good," he said.
Carlos Lee ruined Seattle's shutout bid in the ninth with an RBI
single. Another run scored on the play when center fielder Ichiro
Suzuki committed an error, his first since moving to center from
right field 17 games ago.
Millwood, who was 2-0 in three previous starts against Seattle
this season, pitched six innings. He allowed three runs and four
hits with seven strikeouts.
"That one inning kind of got away from me a little bit," he
Rangers reliever Scott Feldman withdrew his appeal Friday and began serving a six-game suspension for his part in a brawl with the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 16. "He wanted to get it out of the way before next season," Showalter said before Friday night. "It was Scott's decision, but we gave him all the options." ... The 26-year-old Baek improved to 2-0 against Texas. He also
won Sept. 26, 2004, in Arlington. In 15 innings, he's allowed no
runs and seven hits against the Rangers. ... Mariners 3B Adrian
Beltre was out of the lineup to be with his wife, who gave birth to
a baby boy in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The Beltres also have
a 2-year-old daughter. The Mariners don't know when to expect
Beltre back in Seattle. ... RHP Frank Francisco of the Rangers
pitched in his first major league game since Sept. 17, 2004. ...
The Mariners recalled OF T.J. Bohn, INF Greg Dobbs, LHP Cesar
Jimenez, OF Adam Jones and INF Oswaldo Navarro from Triple-A
Tacoma, and RHP Travis Chick from Double-A San Antonio. They
purchased the contracts of RHP Francisco Cruceta from Tacoma and
LHP Ryan Feierabend from San Antonio.