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Buhner's Homer Keys Mariner Win

September 15, 1997|From Associated Press

Seattle Lou Piniella called it the Mariners' biggest victory of the season. And who could argue?

"Now, that's what you'd call a clutch home run," Piniella said. "That is a perfect definition of it. To date this year, that's our biggest win. We needed it, that's why. That was a big win."

The Mariners, who are being chased by the Angels, held their 5 1/2-game lead in the AL West as Jay Buhner hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle.

The Mariners cut their magic number for winning the division to eight over the Angels and are 8-49 after trailing seven innings.

Buhner's 36th home run came against Bill Risley (0-1), making his first major league appearance since Sept. 29, 1996, because of shoulder surgery.

"It's nice to do it, no doubt about that," Buhner said. "It's always nice to come through in a situation like that."

Toronto Manager Cito Gaston didn't second-guess himself about using Risley, who came off the disabled list Saturday. He said the Blue Jay bullpen was tired.

"I used him because we needed to use him," Gaston said. "We got him in there and he threw the ball OK. But he got a ball up to Buhner."

Buhner leads the American League with 161 strikeouts, a career high, and is hitting .247, 12 points below his career batting average. But his two-run homer gave him 100 runs batted in for the third year in a row.

It was Buhner's 249th career homer.

"To be honest with you, I thought it was my 250th career home run," he said. "But I've got to hit one more."

Mike Timlin (6-4) pitched the eighth inning and got the victory. Heathcliff Slocumb worked the ninth for his 24th save and seventh for Seattle.

Ken Griffey Jr., who has not homered in seven games since hitting No. 50 on Sept. 7, had an RBI single in the third off Chris Carpenter. Griffey has four singles--with seven strikeouts since his last home run.

New York 8, Baltimore 2--Bernie Williams had three hits and three RBIs at Baltimore as the Yankees denied the Orioles a chance to become the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth.

The Orioles' magic number to gain at least a wild-card spot remained at one, and their magic number to win the AL East title stayed at 10.

New York was 0-7 against the Orioles before winning Sept. 7 at home and taking three of four at Camden Yards. The Yankees outscored Baltimore in their four victories by a combined score of 45-12.

Tino Martinez drove in three runs and Chad Curtis homered for the Yankees, who reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to seven.

Dwight Gooden (8-4) overcame a rocky start to improve to 3-0 in his last six starts. He gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking three.

Cleveland 8, Chicago 3--Sandy Alomar hit a bases-loaded single to key a bizarre seven-run eighth inning as the Indians rallied at Chicago.

Jaime Navarro had given up only two hits in 6 1/3 innings and the White Sox had a 2-0 lead entering the eighth when Chicago Manager Terry Bevington began switching pitchers--using five of them, including Keith Foulke, who apparently had not warmed up in the bullpen.

Chicago tied a major league record by using nine pitchers in the nine-inning game.

Boston 2, Milwaukee 1--Rookie Nomar Garciaparra hit his 29th homer and Butch Henry pitched seven solid innings for the Red Sox at Milwaukee.

Henry (7-2) gave up six hits in seven inning to defeat Milwaukee for the second time in seven days. He defeated the Brewers on Sept. 7--his first victory as a starter since Aug. 10, 1995, while with Montreal.

Tom Gordon got three outs for his eighth save for Boston, which has won four in a row and six of seven.

Detroit 6, Oakland 5--Scott Sanders won consecutive starts for the first time this season, and Bob Hamelin and Tony Clark homered for the Tigers at Oakland.

Sanders (6-12), obtained from Seattle in a July 18 trade for Omar Olivares and Felipe Lira, gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none. He pitched a one-hitter against Texas in his previous start.

Todd Jones pitched the ninth to convert his 21st consecutive save chance, giving him 29 in 33 opportunities this season.





Player Team Performance Team's Result Jay Buhner Seattle 3 for 3, 2 RBIs, home run Win David Ortiz Minnesota 3 for 4, 2 RBIs, home run Win Jose Vizquel Cleveland 3 for 3, 2 RBIs, double Win




Player Team Performance Team's Result Ken Hill Angels 7 innings, 5 hits, Win 2 runs, 2 strikeouts Dan Serafini Minnesota 7 innings, 7 hits, Win 0 runs, 3 strikeouts Butch Henry Boston 7 innings, 6 hits, Win 1 run, 5 strikeouts


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