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Baldwin Strong for Mariners

April 06, 2002|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners think James Baldwin is going to fit in nicely as Aaron Sele's replacement in their rotation.

Baldwin pitched seven strong innings in his Seattle debut and the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics, 7-1, Friday night behind homers by Bret Boone and John Olerud.

"Baldwin pitched awfully well," Manager Lou Piniella said. "He stayed ahead of most of the hitters and mixed his pitches very, very well. He stayed strong throughout the ball game."

Baldwin gave up five hits, including a sixth-inning homer to rookie Carlos Pena. He walked one and struck out six.

"It was a beautiful start," Baldwin said. "It was just good to get that first one out of the way."

Baldwin went 10-11 for the Chicago White Sox and Dodgers last season and then signed with the Mariners for $1.25 million. He underwent shoulder surgery after the 2000 season when he won 14 games for the White Sox and helped them reach the playoffs.

Baldwin took a one-hopper off the bat of Miguel Tejada off his left foot for a hit in the fifth, but was OK. He waved off trainer Rick Griffin before Griffin could reach the mound.

"He told the trainer to get the heck out of there," Piniella said. "He competes very well. We've known that."

Baldwin said there was no way he was going to come out.

"I didn't want nobody out there," he said. "I wanted to stay out there. Actually, it didn't hurt. When you're out there, you don't feel any pain."

Winning their third in a row after an opening-day loss to the White Sox, the Mariners staked Baldwin to a 3-0 lead in the first.

After a one-out single by Mark McLemore, Boone hit his first homer of the season. Olerud followed one out later with his first homer of 2002.

Erik Hiljus walked Boone and Edgar Martinez to open the third before Olerud doubled in Boone for his second run batted in. Olerud went three for four with a homer and two doubles.

For Pena of the A's, he hit his third home run in his fifth major league game.

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