The 2003 race to the playoffs - 9/7

<b>AL West Standings</b><br> Oakland 84-59 -<br> Seattle 82-61 2 </p><p> <b>AL Wildcard Standings</b><br> Boston 83-59 -<br> Seattle 82-61 1.5

At a time in the season where pennant races are supposed to be fun and exciting, they are anything but in Seattle. Painful and frustrating are two words that better describe the pennant race for Mariners fans.

After fading fast in 2002 in the final two months of the season, the Mariners appear to be doing the same this season, dropping four of six games on their recent road trip to Baltimore and Tampa Bay, two of the American League's worst teams.

With 19 games left on the schedule, including six against Oakland, the Mariners find themselves two games behind the A's after Sunday's contests. They are 1.5 games behind Boston in the race for the wildcard.

Starting today, InsidethePark.com will update the daily happenings in Seattle, Oakland and Boston, tracking daily results of games, noting impact events, and posting upcoming schedules for each team.

Sunday, September 7:


Seattle:

The Mariners managed only five hits and one run against Baltimore's Pat Hentgen as the veteran led the Orioles to a 2-1 win over Seattle.

Hentgen (6-7) pitched eight innings before giving way to Jorge Julio, who earned his 32nd save by pitching a scoreless ninth.

Despite pitching well and giving up only one earned run, Freddy Garcia took the loss. Garcia allowed just four hits and struck out seven in seven innings, but still dropped to 11-14 on the year.

Brian Roberts did the damage offensively for the Orioles with a 2-4 game from the plate, capping a 9-14 series. Roberts drove in Baltimore's second run with a RBI single in the third.

Seattle has lost 11 of its last 17 games, and four of its last five.


Oakland:

The A's sent reigning American League Cy Young award winner Barry Zito to the mound against the Devil Rays, but it was Tampa Bay's starter, Victor Zambrano, who looked more like someone who took home the hardware.

Zambrano threw his first complete game of his career as the Devil Rays raced past Oakland for the second day in a row, this time by an 11-2 margin.

Tampa Bay won 7-4 on Saturday.

Zito (11-12) fell below .500 thanks to allowing seven runs and three walks over 5.1 innings.

Zambrano (10-8) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter to earn the win.

Three Devil Rays had two hits, but it was the 1-5 day by centerfielder Rocco Baldelli that supplied three RBI for manager Lou Piniella's team.

Both teams had nine hits.

Oakland is 1 and 4 since its 10-game winning streak was snapped earlier in the week.


Boston

In a pitcher's dual between Boston's Jeff Suppan and New York's David Wells, the Yankees got the big hit late to lead them to a 3-1 win over the Red Sox from Bean Town.

Bernie Williams supplied the thunder, a two-run homer that broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.

It was Williams' 11th homerun of the year.

Boston scored on a Manny Ramirez single in the eighth to draw to within 2-1, but never got closer.

Yankees' slugger Nick Johnson gave the Yankees an insurance run with a RBI single of his own in the top of the ninth, capping the scoring.

Wells (13-6) gave up five hits in 7.1 innings, striking out three and walking just one.

Suppan dropped to 1-2 with Boston since coming over from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.

Ramirez, Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar led the Red Sox with two hits apiece.


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