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Mariners Hook A Playoff Spot

Mariners' Alex Rodriguez, center, is congratulated in the dugout after a solo home run. angels
AP
The Seattle Mariners clinched the AL wild card spot and closed out Cleveland from the playoffs, getting home runs from Alex Rodriguez and David Bell to beat Anaheim 5-2 Sunday.

Seattle set a team record for wins, going 91-71 and finishing a half-game behind AL West champion Oakland.

The Athletics did not have to play a makeup game Monday at Tampa Bay because they already held the tiebreaker over the Mariners, going 9-4 against them.

Seattle, which led the West for most of the second half, will make their first playoff appearance since 1997. The Mariners open the best-of-5 first round at the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday while the Athletics start later the same day at home against the New York Yankees.

Cleveland beat Toronto 11-4 earlier in the day, temporarily keeping its playoff hopes alive. But Oakland's 3-0 win and the victory by Seattle eliminated the Indians.

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Game Summary

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  • Bell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning. The Mariners saw on the Anaheim scoreboard before their game ended that Oakland had won the West title.

    The Mariners got strong pitching from starter Aaron Sele, reliever Arthur Rhodes (5-8) and Kazuhiro Sasaki.

    Sasaki got his 37th save, breaking the major league record for rookie set by Todd Worrell for St. Louis in 1986.

    Seattle's Raul Ibanez chipped in with a two-run double in a three-run seventh inning as the Mariners snapped a 2-2 tie. Bell led off with his 11th homer, hitting reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa's first pitch over the fence in left.

    Hasegawa (10-6) then gave up consecutive singles to Mark McLemore and Mike Cameron with one out before Ibanez's double into the gap in left-center gave Seattle a three-run pad.

    Rodriguez had led off the fourth with his 41st homer, driving Mark Petkovsek's breaking ball over the wall in left, a 422-foot shot that pulled the Mariners within 2-1.

    Petkovsek, a reliever making only his second AL start, filled in for Scott Schoeneweis, who was a late scratch because of stiffness in his lower back.

    Mike Cameron tied it at 2 with an RBI double in the Seattle sixth. After Petkovsek walked Joe Oliver with one out, Ben Weber relieved. Oliver went to second on a wild pitch and move to third on McLemore's groundout, then scored on Cameron's hit.

    Sele got off to a shaky start. Darin Erstad led off the Angels' first inning with a double, Scott Spiezio followed with a run-scoring single, then Sele walked Mo Vaughn and Tim Salmon to load the bases.

    But after giving up a sacrifice fly to Garret Anderson, Sele escaped further trouble by striking out Troy Glaus, who leads the league with 47 homers. Bengie Molina grounded out and end the inning.

    Rhodes pitched out of a bases-loaded jam after taking over for Sele with two out and two on in the sixth. A fielding error by Rodriguez on a href="http://www.sportsline.com/u/baseball/mlb/players/player_26039.htm" target="external">Adam Kennedy's grounder left the bases loaded, but Rhodes struck out Benji Gil to end that threat.

    Notes

  • Before the Mariners took the field Sunday, the television in manager Lou Piniella's office was tuned into the Cleveland-Toronto game. But the TV in the players' section of the clubhouse had the New York Giants-Tennessee NFL game on.
  • Edgar Martinez finished with an AL-leading 145 RBIs, just two shy of major league leader Todd Helton of Colorado. The only other player in the Mariners' 24-year history to lead the AL in RBIs was Ken Griffey Jr., with 147 in 1997.
  • The Mariners' 197 home runs represented their lowest total in five seasons. The main reason was the trading away of Griffey, who hit 40 homers for Cincinnati.
  • Despite the numerous individual and teams records the Angels have set offensively this season, their final attendance total was only 2,066,977 their lowest figure in three seasons since the ballpark was reduced from 65,158 capacity to 45,050.
  • Erstad got one hit to total 240 for the year, the most in the majors since Wade Boggs also hit 240 in 1985. George Sisler tops the all-time list 257 in 1920.

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