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M's Lose, But Griffey Launches No. 32

Yamil Benitez was thinking fastball. And that's exactly what Bobby Ayala served up.

Benitez homered on

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  • Ayala's first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, sending the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

    "I saw him last year in Kansas City," said Benitez, Arizona's 10th choice in the 1997 expansion draft. "I saw all his pitches. He knows where the split is going, but he doesn't know where the fastball is going. It was down the middle."

    Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 32nd home run, and Seattle tied it at 2 in the eighth on Alex Rodriguez's RBI grounder.

    Rodriguez tried to console Ayala, a closer who has allowed 16 runs in his last 13 1/3 innings.

    "He threw the ball well and came right after them," Rodriguez said. "You throw a 92 mph fastball, that's all you can do."

    Ayala (0-6) retired the Diamondbacks in order in the eighth, but couldn't handle Benitez, who hit his second homer in as many games and fourth in his last seven starts.

    Alan Embree (2-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win.

    In a key play, Embree caught Jeff Huson off first base for the second out in the ninth inning. Huson was pinch-running foEdgar Martinez, who led off with a single, and was tagged out at second.

    "It wasn't a straight steal," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "It was more of a hit-and-run situation. The only thing you have to concern yourself with is a guy getting picked off."

    Matt Williams had an RBI single for Arizona in the first, and Karim Garcia made it 2-1 with a run-scoring triple in the sixth.

    Both starters pitched seven effective innings.

    Jamie Moyer of the Mariners allowed seven hits and two runs. Brian Anderson held the Mariners to five hits, including Griffey's solo shot in the sixth.

    Anderson gave up a two-out single to Griffey in the first, then retired nine of the next 10 batters before walking Rodriguez to start the fourth.

    Anderson worked out of a jam in the fifth, when Jay Buhner and Glenallen Hill singled with no outs. Anderson got Russ Davis and Dan Wilson to fly out and retired Moyer on a grounder.

    "I don't think I was real crisp today, but I made the pitches when I needed to. I feel better about bouncing back from the last time," said Anderson, whose team-record four-game winning streak ended in a 16-5 loss to Texas on Tuesday.

    Moyer was almost as sharp. After giving up three hits to the first four batters of the game, he held the Diamondbacks to just two more hits until Williams led off the sixth with a single and Garcia hit his RBI triple.

    The ball hit yellow padding atop the fence near the foul line, but kicked back into play rather than bouncing into the Seattle bullpen for a home run. Garcia legged it to third for his third triple.

    "I got kind of a peek," Garcia said. "On the replay, I saw it hit the top of the wall and come back. I was waiting to see if it was a foul ball, and then as soon as I saw it hit the wall I started running."


  • Griffey, who has 13 homers in 99 at-bats vs. left-handers, hit No. 326 of his career to move past Willie Horton for 63rd place. Chili Davis is 62nd with 328.
  • Garcia's triple preserved Arizona's 69-game streak with an extra-base hit, longest in the NL.
  • Andy Fox reached base for the seventh consecutive time, a Diamondbacks high.
  • Seattle has lost 30 of 45 since May 12, when the Mariners were over .500 for the only time this year.
  • The Mariners lead the majors with 127 homers, hitting at least one in 61 of 82 games.
  • Griffey's homer was the NL-high 21st allowed by Anderson.
  • Rodriguez's 13-game hitting streak ended, but Williams and Travis Lee of the Diamondbacks extended their streaks to 11 and 10, respectively.
  • © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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