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Darwin Silences Johnson, Mariners

Lately, everything is going the San Francisco Giants' way, even the calls.

Danny Darwin kept the majors' best home run-hitting team in the yard and Rich Aurilia homered in his first at-bat against Randy Johnson as the Giants won their 10th straight by beating the Seattle Mariners 4-3 Monday night.

Rich Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his first save. Joey Cora appeared to beat out an infield hit to open the inning but was called out by first base umpire Sam Holbrook. Cora and Seattle manager Lou Piniella argued the call heatedly and were ejected. Rodriguez struck out Ken Griffey Jr., who went 0-for-5, to end the game.

"You catch a hot team and things happen," Griffey said. "I'm just wondering when it's going to be our turn."

Robb Nen, the Giants' regular closer, wasn't available after pitching in three straight games and Rodriguez closed the game out for his first save since May 14, 1997 at Cincinnati.

"Getting that first out makes things a whole lot easier," said Rodriguez, who got a lift from Holbrook's call. "He called him out and that's all that matters to me."

Cora was still upset 30 minutes after the game.

"We lost the game. He called me out. That's it," Cora snapped. "That's what umpires get paid for."

It is San Francisco's longest winning streak since an 11-game run in 1991. Seattle lost for the eighth time in nine interleague games at NL parks.

"We're all playing well and hitting is contagious," said Jeff Kent, who had a two-run double for the Giants. "It's fun but we don't want to overanalyze it. You want to ride this high as long as you can."

The 42-year-old Darwin (6-3) allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings against the slumping Mariners, who fell to a season-low nine-games below .500 (27-36).

Darwin struck out three and walked one in winning for the fifth time in his last six decisions. For just the third time in his 12 starts, he didn't give up a homer.

"They probably saw how many homers I've given up and they were ready," Darwin said. "But I can't go out there and tell myself they've got two guys over there with 20-plus homers. You're going to give up some home runs if you pitch a lot of innings so you just try to minimize them."

Johnson (5-5), raised in nearby Livermore, made his first appearance at San Francisco and struck out 10, the 88th time he has fanned 10 or more batters. Johnson, who walked three, went seven innings and allowed four runs on six hits.

The Giants trailed 1-0 when they struck for three runs in the third, starting with Aurilia's fifth homer. Aurilia, who has faced Johnson in spring training, connected on a 2-2 pitch and drove it over the left-field fence.

"It was a slider out over the plate," sad Aurilia, brushed back by Johnson two pitches earlier. "He's an intimidating force out there with his size and his velocity. I just tried not to think about it and tried to battle and I got a pitch I could hit. That's about it."

Brian Johnson then reached on third baseman Russ Davis' fielding error and Bill Mueller singled. After Barry Bonds walked, Jeff Kent hit a two-run double to put San Francisco up 3-1.

Bonds' had a run-scoring single in the sixth but the Mariners narrowed the gap in the seventh.

Cora led off with a single, his fourth of the game, and Jeff Huson also singled. Darwin retired Griffey on a groundout and was relieved by Steve Reed. Alex Rodriguez singled with one out to drive in two runs but Reed then got Dan Wilson to pop out and Rodriguez was caught stealing to end the inning.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the second on Davis' run-scoring double.

Notes: Seattle's Jay Buhner, disabled with an inflammation in his left knee, was scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Tacoma on Tuesday night and might rejoin the Mariners on Thursday when they play at Oakland. ... Johnson, who hadn't batted since 1989 while with Montreal, went 0-for-3. But he hit a couple of homers during pregame batting practice, drawing cheers from the crowd. ... The Mariners will be spending a week in the Bay area, going on to Oakland on Thursday to start a four-game series with the Athletics. ... Switch-hitting Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, who suffered a fractured left eye socket when he was hit by a pitch from Johnson in a spring training game a year ago, didn't face him. San Francisco manager Dusty Baker said before the game the beaning had nothing to do with his decision to start Charlie Hayes, noting Snow's nine lifetime strikeouts and .190 batting average against Johnson.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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