By KIRBY ARNOLD
CHICAGO — Four hours of high drama for the Seattle Mariners came down to a mysterious stroll onto the field by their manager, then two powerful swings of the bat in the 10th inning that made them all winners.
The Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 Tuesday in Game 1 of their American League Division Series when Edgar Martinez and John Olerud hit home runs on successive pitches in the 10th inning.
Those two swings cracked open a tense game in which the Mariners jumped to a 3-0 lead, fell behind 4-3 and came back to win. Mike Cameron drove in the tying run in the seventh inning and five Mariners relief pitchers worked the final 6 2/3innings without allowing a run.
The victory gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which resumes with Game 2 at 10 a.m. today at Comiskey Park. The first team to win three games will play for the American League Championship against the Oakland A’s or New York Yankees, with the AL champ advancing to the World Series against the National League champion.
"I’ve been spoiled for seven years playing with this man," Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez said of Martinez, the team’s designated hitter. "Every time he comes up to the plate, he’s in scoring position."
"That man needs no stinkin’ glove. Just give him a stinkin’ bat," Cameron added. "The man is the best."
Cameron played a huge role in the three-run rally off White Sox ace relief pitcher Keith Foulke. He led off the inning with a single and, with Martinez at bat, drew several throws to first from Foulke.
Then he got a surprise visit from M’s manager Lou Piniella, who spoke momentarily with Cameron as first-base coach John Moses stood silently nearby.
"I really haven’t seen that since Little League," Cameron said.
What did Piniella say?
"He just said, ‘Go ahead and steal the bag, and we’ll have a couple of drinks at the hotel,’ " Cameron said.
Cameron wound up stealing second base, and then Foulke threw a changeup that changed the game. Martinez lined it over the left-field fence for a 6-4 Mariners lead. Olerud drove the next pitch, a fastball, for a home run to center field.
"Edgar has been clutch for us all year, and you want your big people up there in situations like that," Piniella said. "Just a clutch piece of hitting."
And a clutch victory for the Mariners, who now have nullified Chicago’s home-field advantage in the series. Game 3 will be in Seattle at 1 p.m. Friday and Game 4, if it’s needed, would be at Safeco Field at 1 p.m. Saturday. If a fifth game is needed, it would be in Chicago on Sunday.
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