Orioles score two off Sasaki in ninth

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners' once dominant bullpen has
suddenly become very vulnerable, much to the delight of the
Baltimore Orioles.

Jay Gibbons singled in two runs in the bottom of the ninth
inning as the Orioles continued their assault on Seattle's
relievers, beating Kazuhiro Sasaki in a 4-3 victory Saturday night.

Although a throwing error by Sasaki (2-1) contributed heavily to
the two-run ninth, one of the runs was earned -- the first earned
run against the Mariners' closer in 21 appearances this season.

It was the third straight game in which the Seattle bullpen lost
a lead against Baltimore; the Mariners came back to win the first
one but dropped the last two.

"Stuff like that happens to you. It happened to us last year on
occasion," Mariners second baseman Bret Boone said. "It isn't
going to happen often, but it's going to happen."

With Seattle up 3-2, Gary Matthews Jr. led off the ninth with a
single. Chris Singleton bunted, and Sasaki threw wildly to first
base, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. After an
intentional walk to Jeff Conine, Gibbons grounded a single inside
the first-base line.

The Orioles streamed out of the dugout to greet Singleton as he
crossed the plate with the winning run.

"These are the kind of wins that do huge things for our club,"
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "It's a positive now and in
the long run, because it makes you feel as if you're always in the

In the other clubhouse, Sasaki somberly spoke after his first
loss since last Aug. 10.

"My job is to get the save and the win. My throw caused the
loss," he said through an interpreter. "I feel bad right now."

Seattle manager Lou Piniella refused to talk to reporters after
the Mariners' eighth loss in 13 games.

It was the third blown save for Sasaki; the other two came on
unearned runs. Seattle was 25-0 this season when leading after
eight innings.

"I guess there's always a first time. I'm glad we were the ones
to do it," Baltimore second baseman Jerry Hairston said.

Willis Roberts (3-1) pitched two innings of scoreless relief for
the Orioles, now 1-24 when trailing after eight innings.

"I don't know if this will turn around the season, but it
doesn't hurt what we're trying to accomplish here," Hargrove said.

Baltimore's comeback ruined a fine performance by Seattle
starter James Baldwin, who allowed two runs and four hits in seven

"It's a tough one to lose," the right-hander said. "Sasaki is
such a good closer, but we all know anything can happen in this

Marty Cordova homered for the Orioles, who rallied from four
runs down in each of their previous three games.

Held to three hits over the first five innings, the Mariners
finally broke through against Rodrigo Lopez to go up 2-0.

Ichiro Suzuki led off the sixth by reaching on an error, then
stole second and scored on a single by Mark McLemore, who stole
second and came home on a double by John Olerud.

Baldwin retired 14 straight batters at that point, but Cordova
led off the bottom of the inning by hitting an 0-2 pitch over the
center-field wall. Geronimo Gil then singled and Baldwin hit
Hairston with a pitch, but Baltimore failed to advance the runners.

Doubles by Desi Relaford and Mike Cameron made it 3-1 in the
seventh, but the Orioles closed to 3-2 in their half when Conine
doubled and scored on a groundout by Tony Batista.

Game notes
Seattle SS Carlos Guillen, who left Friday's game with a
strained left ring finger after being hit by a pitch, will be out
at least for the weekend. He was replaced by Relaford. ... Suzuki
extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He also received his
AL-high 11th intentional walk. ... RHP Sean Douglass will start
Sunday for the Orioles, replacing struggling Calvin Maduro.