M's Meche-sterful in Minnesota

The Mariners extended their winning streak to three games by putting on a hitting clinic and getting another fine performance out of starter Gil Meche. With the win, Seattle evened the season series versus the Twins at 2-2.

In a game that appeared to potentially be a pitchers duel, the Seattle Mariners pounced on the Twins early and hung on late for an 8-4 victory Thursday evening at the Metrodome in Minnesota.

Starter Gil Meche was on his game once again, but it was the Mariners' offense that was the story.

Playing on the astroturf for the first time this season, the top of the Mariners' batting order helped lead the offense to 18 hits.

None of the hits were bigger than that of second baseman Bret Boone, who's fifth inning two-run homer not only broke the score open at 4-1, but also happened to be the 200th of his career.

The game was tight for the opening four innings, as Meche and Twins' starter, veteran Brad Radke, battled hard to keep the opposition in check.

Seattle (34-18) scored twice in the first inning thanks to a weird play on a fly ball hit to left fielder Jacque Jones that resulted in a hit. Ichiro led off the game with a single, which brought up Carlos Guillen. Guillen hit what appeared to be a lazy fly ball to Jones, but the outfielder lost the ball in the often-tough Metrodome ceiling. The ball bounced to the wall, and Ichiro scored all the way from first. A double by Edgar Martinez two batters later scored Guillen from second.

The Twins answered in the bottom half of the inning as Jones, Minnesota's leadoff hitter, took the second pitch he saw from Meche and blasted it into the upper deck in right field.

At 2-1 Mariners, that's where the score would stay until Boone's 14th homer of the season helped sway the game in Meche's favor.

Meche (7-2) kept runners off base most of the game, giving up only six hits in seven innings, but he couldn't manage to keep them in the ballpark. Of the four Twins homers on the night, three came off of the young 24-year-old Louisiana-native.

Aside from Jones, Meche yielded solo homers to Doug Mientkiewicz and Torii Hunter. But the one-run homers did nothing but dent the Mariners lead in the late innings.

The Mariners, up 5-1 in the fifth, tacked on two in the sixth and three in the seventh to go ahead 10-4 heading into the ninth.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in to close the door for Seattle, having given up a mere one run on the season. That total rose to three quickly, however, as catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged the Japanese righty for a two-run homer to round out the scoring.

Hasegawa's ERA "ballooned" to 0.92 on the year.

Radke, who was tagged for 11 hits and five runs in five innings, took the loss to even his record at 5-5.

Seven Mariners had two or more hits, led by the 4-5 night from the plate by shortstop Carlos Guillen. Boone and Edgar each tallied three for the game.

The Twins, who had 10 hits on the night, dropped to 31-21 on the year.


Game Notes:

En Fuego: Seattle's first four batters - Ichiro, Guillen, Boone, and Edgar - were a combined 12-22. Not bad.


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