Mariners 6, Angels 3
SEATTLE (AP)—After recording his 2,000th career hit, John Olerud wouldn’t rule out the more meaningful mark of 3,000—even if he knows it’s a long shot.
“At this pace, I’d have to play another good seven years where I don’t get hurt if I’m going to keep up this pace,” Olerud said. “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Olerud hit a 1-2 pitch into the right field stands for a two-run shot off the Angels’ John Lackey, to tie the score at 3 in the fourth inning. The 34-year-old Olerud received a standing ovation from the crowd at Safeco Field and tipped his batting helmet.
“The ovation was great,” Olerud said. “A little uncomfortable with the curtain call. But it was very nice.”
Olerud collected his 2,000th hit in his 1,933rd career game. He got his first career hit for Toronto on Sept. 3, 1989, off Minnesota’s German Gonzales.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Olerud was a lot better player than fans generally realize. He was a batting champion for Toronto in 1993, he’s played in two All-Star games and he’s won two Gold Gloves.
“He is a great ballplayer,” Scioscia said. “I think he doesn’t get the due that he deserves. He has been an incredible ballplayer and still is.”
Olerud was asked what the milestone meant to him. He went straight from Washington State to the major leagues in 1989 without going to the minors.
“I think this means I’m getting older,” he said. “I’ve been playing for a number of years.”
At 46-22, the Mariners have the best record in baseball. Atlanta (45-22) was idle after losing two of three games in a weekend series in Seattle.
Mariners manager Bob Melvin said his team started the night off with a letdown after the big series with the Braves.
“That’s as flat as I’ve felt our dugout in the first couple of innings,” Melvin said. “I really thought after the first two innings that we were going to have a real tough time winning this game.”
The Angels took a 3-0 lead off Joel Pineiro (6-5) on three hits in the first. David Eckstein was hit by a pitch. He scored when Darin Erstad doubled and left fielder Randy Winn bobbled the ball for an error.
The Mariners tied the score off Lackey (4-6) in the fourth. Bret Boone doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Edgar Martinez’s infield single. Olerud followed with his third homer of the season.
Cameron homered 431 feet into the Mariners’ bullpen in left field off Lackey with one out in the sixth to give Seattle a 4-3 lead.
After a walk to Olerud in the eighth, Cameron hit a two-run shot 436 feet over the scoreboard in left off Francisco Rodriguez to make the score 6-3. Cameron has 10 homers this season.
In the fifth, Cameron made a dazzling diving catch of Tim Salmon’s drive to end the inning.
Cameron disputed his manager that the Mariners started the game out flat.
“Naw, that’s the way we are,” he said. “We pull for each other, but we do it in a very calm fashion. We don’t get too rah-rah or anything like that.”
Arthur Rhodes got four outs for his second save.
Bret Boone went 4-for-4 for the Mariners to tie a career high that he’s done 16 times. He last did Aug. 25, 2002, at Cleveland.
Pineiro went 7 2-3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, with a hit batter. He struck out four.
Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price threatened to take Pineiro out early in the game.
“He told me that after the second inning that I was going to be gone unless I started throwing strikes,” Pineiro said. “He said he was going to get somebody ready.”
Lackey pitched six innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk,with two wild pitches. He struck out four.
Olerud, a Seattle native, signed with Mariners as a free agent in December 1999 after playing three seasons with the New York Mets. … Martinez got his 2,000th career hit May 2 against the Chicago White Sox. … The Mariners’ home runs were their first in four games. … Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki increased his hitting streak to 12 games. His career high is 23 games April 22-May 18, 2001. He’s had a 13-game hitting streak this season. … TheMariners are 4-3 against the Angels and 12-8 against the AL West this season.