Originally created 10/16/00

Mariners top Yankees



SEATTLE -- Alex Rodriguez brought Seattle's bats back to life, and then the Mariners made sure the AL championship series returned to the Bronx.

With Seattle facing elimination, Rodriguez revived his team with a go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning. Edgar Martinez and John Olerud followed with consecutive homers that carried Seattle over the New York Yankees 6-2 on Sunday, pulling the Mariners to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

The Yankees, trying to fulfill the AL half of what would be the first Subway Series since 1956, returned to New York with their top two playoff pitchers ready: Orlando Hernandez faces John Halama in Game 6 Tuesday night, with Andy Pettitte on reserve if there is a seventh game the following day.

The Mariners' mission is similar to five years ago, when they lost to the Yankees in the opening game of a best-of-five series in the first round, then won three straight at the Kingdome. This time, however, they will have to win two at Yankee Stadium.

Freddy Garcia beat the Yankees for the second time in six days, allowing five hits in five innings. The Yankees, 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the opener, were just 2-for-15 Sunday with runners on second or third.

Safeco Field was nearly silent after Luis Sojo's two-run double gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fourth against Game 1 winner Freddy Garcia.

Seattle, which scored five runs in the first four games of the series, then scored five runs in the fifth, the inning ignited by Mark McLemore's 40-foot bunt single up the third-base line.

Denny Neagle, who lost to Garcia in the opener, then issued his fourth walk of the game, to Rickey Henderson.

The Yankees converged on the mound to talk strategy, while Mariners coaches conferred with their runners.

Fans stood, cheering, and a train whistle sounded loudly from beyond right field.

Mike Cameron sacrificed and Yankees manager Joe Torre brought in Jeff Nelson to face Rodriguez, a free agent after the World Series and likely to become the sport's highest-paid player.

He drove the first pitch into left field, the big hit the Mariners had been searching for since the opener.

Martinez, having the best year of his career at age 37, followed by driving a 2-0 pitch about 10 rows deep into the center-field bleachers.

Olerud, robbed of a home run an inning earlier when Bernie Williams pulled a ball back over the center-field fence, then sent an 0-1 pitch into the right-field seats.

Nelson had allowed two homers in 69 2-3 innings during the regular season. Now he had allowed two in six pitches.

Coming into the inning, Seattle was batting just .180 in the series. The Mariners then started the fifth by going 5-for-5, mirroring the Yankees' performance in Game 2, when they trailed 1-0 in the eighth inning, then went 8-for-8 and scored seven runs.

Rodriguez made sure New York didn't come right back, ranging to his left to snuff Sojo's grounder leading off the sixth and throwing him out at first with time to spare.

David Bell ended the inning with even a more sparkling play, diving to stop Chuck Knoblauch's grounder to third and throwing him out from a sitting position.

New York, which hasn't won four straight since Sept. 7-10, threatened to come back in the seventh, loading the bases when Jose Paniagua walked Derek Jeter leading off and Arthur Rhodes walked Williams and Tino Martinez with one out.

Rhodes got Jorge Posada to swing at a low curveball, and Torre then called back slumping Paul O'Neill, who already was walking to the batter's box, and sent Glenallen Hill to pinch hit for him.

In Game 1, Hill batted for O'Neill with the potential tying run on first and took a called third strike. History repeated, and Hill took a curveball for a third strike, ending the inning.

With two on and two outs in the eighth, Kazuhiro Sasaki struck out David Justice.

Seattle, held to one hit Saturday by Roger Clemens, needed just four batters to match the runners it had the previous night: three.

After getting the first out, Neagle walked Cameron, Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez, then gave up a sacrifice fly to Olerud that ended Seattle's scoreless streak at 14 innings.

New York came back in the fourth after Tino Martinez doubled leading off and went to third on a single by Posada, just his second hit in 15 at-bats in the series.

Sojo followed with a double, making him 4-for-4 against Garcia in the playoffs. But Garcia held tough, retiring Scott Brosius on a popup, striking out Knoblauch and getting Jeter on a grounder.

Notes: Olerud swiped second in the seventh inning, his first stolen base of the year and the ninth of his career. ... The roof was closed when the Yankees started batting practice, then was opened about 90 minutes before game time. ... The Hall of Fame asked Clemens for the cap or jersey he wore during his one-hitter.