M’s frustrations at plate continue to mount as Yankees win Game 3, 8-2
By KIRBY ARNOLD
SEATTLE — They keep talking about the next game being a new chance.
Still, the same old problems are biting the Seattle Mariners, and now they’re down to their last days to hope for a change.
The Mariners reached a postseason low in offensive frustration Friday night when they knocked Andy Pettitte around for nine hits in the first five innings but scored only twice.
It was the New York Yankees who showed how to manufacture runs, rolling past the Mariners 8-2 at Safeco Field in the third game of the American League Championship Series.
The victory gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and sent the Mariners into a near must-win situation today.
"I wouldn’t say that," center fielder Mike Cameron said. "We’ve just got to come out and play good baseball. There’s no major reason for this. We just have to stay aggressive and put the bat on the ball. They are doing it, and we have to find ways to do it ourselves."
The loss left the Mariners, who are averaging just 1.5 runs in their past four games, searching for a bright side.
"I just have a feeling we’re going to start hitting the ball pretty good in the series, starting tomorrow," manager Lou Piniella said. "We got 10 hits and that’s a pretty good start. We didn’t get any runs to speak of, but it starts with getting people on base."
The Mariners had all but one of their hits in the first five innings, forcing Pettitte to make a perfect pitch time after time.
"We had a chance to bury him and we didn’t do it," Cameron said. "He gave his team an opportunity to come out and swing the bats."
The Mariners got three consecutive hits with one out in the first inning, the third a single to left field by Edgar Martinez that drove in Mike Cameron with the game’s first run. Jay Buhner, though, grounded out weakly to first base and John Olerud hit a soft pop to shortstop to end the inning.
In the second, David Bell and Joe Oliver led off with back-to-back singles, Mark McLemore bunted them to second and third, and they got no farther. The Yankees dropped their middle infielders back and were willing to concede a run, but Rickey Henderson pulled a groundout to third that froze the runners. Cameron then grounded out to shortstop, ending the Mariners’ best threat of the night.
The Mariners’ only other breakthrough came in the fifth, when Henderson led off with a double and scored on Cameron’s single to left.
"Tonight’s effort reminded me of 1996," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Pettitte. "He walks that high wire without a safety net and gets himself in trouble. But Andy, when he needed to get out of a jam, he made some quality pitches."
The Yankees, who ended a 21-inning scoreless streak with a seven-run eighth inning in Game 2, didn’t flub their opportunities.
Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez hit back-to-back home runs off Mariners starter Aaron Sele in the second inning as New York took a 2-1 lead, and David Justice smacked a two-out double in the third for a 3-1 score.
The Yankees added another run, again with two outs, when Paul O’Neill drove home Williams with a single in the sixth, and they put the Mariners away with four runs in the ninth. Justice had the big hit, a two-run single off Mariners reliever Rob Ramsay.
"That’s typical Yankee baseball," Sele said. "They get a runner in scoring position with two outs and they find a way to get him in."
The Mariners are running out of chances to follow suit.
"When you play a team like the Yankees, you have to take full advantage of the opportunities," Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez said "This was a pivotal game, but it’s a seven-game series. We still feel like we’ll defend our home turf."
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