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Seattle 6, Cleveland 2

Oct. 14, 2001 at 10:33 PM   |   Comments

CLEVELAND, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Freddy Garcia held Cleveland's big bats in check until Seattle's offense finally came to life with 10 baserunners over the final three innings Sunday, allowing the Mariners to rally for a 6-2 victory that forced a fifth and deciding game in their American League Division Series.

The Indians overwhelmed the Mariners with 17 runs in the third game of the series Saturday, pushing the team with an all-time record equaling number of victories to the edge of elimination from the playoffs.

Cleveland, with ace Bartolo Colon on the mound, again took the lead Sunday. But that lead was only 1-0 through six innings thanks to a second-inning leadoff homer by Juan Gonzalez.

With only three more frames remaining in which to salvage their season, the Mariners finally went to work with five different players driving in runs over the closing innings.

Ichiro Suzuki put the Mariners in front by driving home Mike Cameron with a single during a three-run seventh inning and Edgar Martinez gave Seattle some cushion in the ninth with a two-run homer.

Kazuhiro Sasaki came on in the ninth for Seattle to retire the side in order, tying the series at 2-2 and creating a game Monday on the Mariners' home field.

"We have to go back to Seattle anyway," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said prior to the game, one that was delayed at the start for two hours, 20 minutes by rain. "We might as well drag the Indians back with us."

Garcia, who lost a Game 1 duel with Colon, allowed three hits over six innings and faced just three batters over the minimum.

Even though he was able to cool off the Cleveland hitters who had been so hot the day before, Garcia still faced a 1-0 deficit going into the seventh.

But John Olerud started that inning by working an eight-pitch walk off Colon. Stan Javier followed with a single and Mike Cameron also drew a walk to load the bases with none out.

Pinch-hitter Al Martin came in for catcher Dan Wilson and grounded into a force play that resulted in Olerud being thrown out at home. With the bases still loaded, David Bell lofted a fly ball deep down the left-field line and the sacrifice fly brought Javier in with the tying run.

With two out, Colon had a great chance to get out of the inning. But Suzuki's single to right brought in a run and Mark McLemore followed with a bouncing single through the hole on the right side to score Martin.

"The game was already tied and I just wanted pitches that I could hit," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "I wanted to hit. The game was tied so you know we would not go home losing in that situation, I was just as normal as possible."

"I don't know what I can say," Indians catcher Einar Diaz said of the decision to pitch to Suzuki. "We wanted to be careful with him but he got a hit."

A seven-time batting champion in Japan, Suzuki was signed by the Mariners in the offseason and ignited their offense from the start. He led the AL in batting average, hits and stolen bases and was second in runs scored.

Jeff Nelson replaced Garcia to start the Cleveland seventh and was victimized for a run. Gonzalez led off with a double that centerfielder Cameron lost in the sun. Gonzalez went to third on a ground out and remained at third when Ellis Burks reached on a wild pitch thrown on strike three.

A fielder's choice grounder from Travis Fryman, however, brought in Gonzalez and cut the Cleveland deficit to 3-2.

Cameron redeemed himself in the eighth when he launched a two-out double off the left-centerfield wall, allowing Olerud to score from first. And after Suzuki led off the ninth with a single, Martinez hit a towering homer just inside the left-field foul pole.

"We had confidence," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said. "We had confidence that we would come out here and play a good ballgame, that Freddy would give us a chance to win. We felt good about our chances, we really did. But, you never know. You can talk about it. You've still got to get it done on the field and that's what we did, which is more important."

Cleveland's Chuck Finley will oppose Seattle's Jamie Moyer Monday with a berth in the ALCS on the line.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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