Comeback falls short, M's fall to Twins

Another day, another heartbreaking loss for the Seattle Mariners. That was the story Monday as the Mariners' bullpen failed to keep the Twins off the scoreboard in the late innings. Seattle had stormed back from four runs down to tie the game in the seventh. The Mariners will play the series finale with Minnesota on Tuesday.

July 13, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 9 0
Minnesota 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 X 5 13 0

WP J. Rincon (2-3) 2/3IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 2SO HR 2.96ERA
LP A. Rhodes (2-3) 2/3 IP 2H 1R 1ER 0BB 0SO 0HR 4.27ERA
S E. Guardado (26)

Several scary trends have started to form on this 2003 Seattle Mariners team.

The lack of timely hitting, the inability to find a No. 2 hitter and the unproductivity at the bottom of the batting order top the list.

But one trend that is starting to become increasingly alarming is the ability for the Mariners' bullpen to close the door. The relief, thought to be one of the team's biggest assets in the first half of the season, has started to falter on a regular basis.

It happened again on Monday, as the Twins scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning off of Arthur Rhodes en route to a 5-4 win over Seattle at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

It was the second day in a row that Rhodes took the loss, dropping the left-hander to 2-3 on the year.

Oakland, who ended it's four-game losing streak with a win over Kansas City, drew to within four games of the Mariners in the American League West.

While it was Carlos Beltran who did the damage on Sunday, it was journeyman Chris Gomez who came through with the big hit this time around.

Jeff Nelson came in with one out in the eighth, runners on first and third - both reached off of Rhodes - with Gomez stepping to the plate. The third baseman blooped a broken bat single over the head of shortstop Mark McLemore, scoring A.J. Pierzynski from third base for the go-ahead run.

Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect ninth, retiring Ben Davis, Willie Bloomquist and Ichiro Suzuki in order for his 26th save of the year.

It was the second day in a row that the Mariners came from behind, only to lose in the late innings.

Sunday they battled back from a 5-0 deficit, falling in 10 innings to Kansas City.

Monday, they stormed back after falling behind 4-0.

Facing the red-hot Joel Pineiro, who entered the game with six-consecutive winning decisions, the Twins (49-49) scored a run in the first on a groundout by Doug Mientkiewicz. They added two more in the second on four hits, then tacked on another in the third on Torii Hunter's 17th homer of the season.

Down 4-0, Seattle seemingly had no answer. Twins' starter Kyle Lohse didn't allow a Mariners' baserunner to second base until two outs had been recorded in the seventh inning.

That's when Seattle (59-39) did their damage, scoring all four of the team's runs with two outs. McLemore got the M's on the board with a two-RBI double, scoring Davis and Mike Cameron. Run-scoring singles by Ichiro and Randy Winn knotted the score at 4-4, and got Pineiro off the hook.

Pineiro gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in his 6.2 innings, but didn't factor into the decision.

Lohse gave up five hits and three runs before leaving the game in the seventh inning. LaTroy Hawkins allowed the tying run to score, spoling Lohse's chances at earning the victory.

Juan Rincon (2-3) got the final two outs in the eighth inning, enough to earn him the victory.

Gomez and Hunter led the Twins 13-hit attack with three apiece.

Bloomquist, who got the start at third base in place of Jeff Cirillo, was the only Mariner with a mulit-hit game. He went 2-4.

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