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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / AMERICAN LEAGUE | CHICAGO vs. SEATTLE
: NOTES

Mariner Bullpen Has No Problem Finishing

October 05, 2000|Associated Press

Paul Abbott pitched like a playoff veteran and Seattle's bullpen was unhittable. That's why the road-tough Mariners are headed home with a 2-0 lead over the Chicago White Sox in their division series.

Abbott, who started the season in the bullpen, gave up just five hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings to win in his first postseason appearance in a pro career that began in 1985.

Seattle's bullpen took over as Arthur Rhodes, Jose Mesa and Kazuhiro Sasaki did not allow a hit the rest of the way. Sasaki struck out the side in the ninth for his second save of the series.

"It's everything," Abbott said of the Mariner bullpen. "They've been lights out. You go out there and know once you've done your job, you have three or four guys who are going to come in and shut them down."

On Tuesday, Mariner relievers gave up just three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

"We have some good power arms in our bullpen," Seattle Manager Lou Piniella said.

"Rhodes gives us something we haven't had in a couple of years, a very solid left-handed pitcher who can equalize left-handed hitting.

"Mesa has an excellent arm and all that experience. And Sasaki has done the job for us, he has all the experience closing in Japan. He's unflappable. He likes being out there at the end."

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Jay Buhner says the Mariners are not bothered by the postseason pressure because they faced so many crucial games on their way to the playoffs.

"We're up 2-0 and playing with a lot of confidence," Buhner said. "I think going down the stretch we had very pressure-packed games. Definitely that helped. Those games, they felt like playoff games."

Buhner's 400-foot homer to left in the fourth off losing pitcher Mike Sirotka gave Seattle a 3-2 lead.

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Appearing in his 56th postseason game, Rickey Henderson manufactured a run for the Mariners in the fifth. He walked, moved up on a sacrifice and stole third. He then scored on Alex Rodriguez's slow roller to third as Herbert Perry elected to go to first instead of home.

In the next inning, Henderson left the game with a jammed left index finger after being shaken up sliding headfirst into third.

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Sasaki was asked the differences between the Japanese and American postseasons.

"In Japan you play a seven-game series and that's it," he said. "Here you have to play five, seven, seven to win the World Series."

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