Bats heat up late in Mariners win over Anaheim

Seattle fell behind by three in the first inning, but battled back in a big way behind the bats of John Olerud, Mike Cameron and Bret Boone.

While many teams spent Monday resting on typical off days, the Seattle Mariners were in action against the defending World Champion Anaheim Angels at a packed house at Safeco Field.

While those teams that did play were in venues half-filled with fans sitting on their hands, the house was a rockin' at the Safe, where the Mariners came from three runs down to knock off the Angels, 6-3.

The win extended Seattle's lead in the American League West to 7.5 games, as second-place Oakland was idle. It also gave the Mariners the best record in baseball, a half-game better than the idle Atlanta Braves.

Anaheim (34-33) appeared to have the Mariners right where they wanted them, scoring three runs in the first inning off of Seattle (46-22) starter Joel Pineiro.

David Eckstein reached on a hit-by-pitch, then scored when the next batter Darin Erstad ripped a double to left and Randy Winn misplayed the ball. A single by Garrett Anderson scored Erstad, and Anderson advanced to second on the throw home by Mike Cameron. Brad Fullmer singled home Anderson two batters later to cap the scoring in the first.

But Pineiro, who almost always struggles in the opening innings, rebounded from the shaky start and had his way with the Angels big bats for the remainder of his outing. At one point, he retired 16-straight batters to come to the plate.

And while the young right-hander kept Anaheim at three, the Mariners bats came alive, starting in the fourth inning.

Bret Boone led off with a double, one of his four hits on the day. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored when Edgar Martinez beat out groundball hit to Eckstein, who threw wildly to first.

That set the stage for John Olerud, who stepped to the dish sitting on hit 1,999. Angels starter John Lackey, who had mowed the Mariners bats down until that inning, threw a fastball up and in and Olerud turned it around for a two-run, game tying homer. Nice way to reach 2,000, huh.

At 3-3, Cameron put the Mariners on his back the rest of the way.

First, the centerfielder made a remarkable diving play in left-center field to rob Tim Salmon, ending the fifth inning for the Angels.

Then, one out into the sixth inning, he delivered again, this time at the plate. Cameron sent a Lackey offering high over the wall in the left field power alley for a solo homerun, making it 4-3.

Not done, Cameron tacked on two more for the home team in the eighth with another homerun, this of the two-run variety off of Angels future-star Francisco Rodriguez. Olerud walked one-batter early to get aboard for Cameron's second homer of the game.

Cameron now has 10 long-balls for the season.

Pineiro (6-5) lasted through 7.2 innings before giving away to Arthur Rhodes. The veteran, hard-throwin' left-hander did the rest, getting the final four outs for his second save of the year.

Lackey, the Angels opening day starter, dropped to 4-7.

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