SEATTLE (AP)—Randy Winn keeps insisting he’s not a home run hitter. These days, he’s starting to smile when he says it.
Winn drove the first pitch he saw in the eighth, a fastball off Francisco Rodriguez. It sailed an estimated 442 feet to the third deck above right field, starting a celebration at Safeco Field.
“I knew I hit it well. I didn’t know where it landed until somebody told me afterward,” Winn said.
It was the 34th homer of Winn’s five-year career in the majors and 10th this season. Those aren’t exactly power-hitting numbers, but some of Winn’s homers this season have been with excellent timing.
“I’ve just been able to come up with a home run with some people on base,” Winn said, breaking into a grin. “I can’t really explain it. I’m really not a home run hitter. I’ve just gotten a couple of big hits in those situations.”
The Mariners moved within a half-game of Boston for the AL wild card after the Red Sox lost to Chicago. Seattle won its fourth straight to keep up with Oakland, remaining 2 1/2 games behind the Athletics in the AL West.
Garcia (12-14) has pitched well recently, though he hadn’t won since Aug. 17 and registered two games without a decision and two losses. He allowed six hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
“Freddy Garcia matched all our guys, pitch for pitch,” Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. “We had opportunities offensively tonight and we couldn’t get that hit to get us going. He made some good pitches with guys in scoring position.”
Garcia had his stuff working all night, and his changeup was tough. He threw 121 pitches, getting support from the fans when they chanted “Freddy, Freddy, Freddy” just before he struck out Chone Figgins to end the eighth.
“That was a change in the middle,” Garcia said. “I had to make a good pitch.”
The ball flew over Anderson’s head and bounced off the wall, giving Boone time to score from first. Martinez, playing with a broken big toe on his left foot, hobbled to second, another big hit in a career that has been loaded with them.
“They’re going to have to make an all-new bobblehead duckie, whatever it is, with some kind of a steel-toed shoe on it,” manager Bob Melvin said, alluding to a Martinez promotion this season. “He’s amazing. He can block everything out.”
“You cannot walk anybody, especially with two outs and the game on the line,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what cost us the game.”
The Angels couldn’t advance anyone beyond first until David Eckstein stole second in the sixth. Eckstein was back on second after a two-out double in the eighth, but Garcia struck out Figgins.
“He threw a terrific 3-2 pitch to Figgy,” Scioscia said.
Anaheim starter Aaron Sele was going strong, allowing only a second-inning double and a single in the fourth—both by Olerud. But Sele didn’t report for the fifth, complaining of back spasms, and Ben Weber took the mound.
In four innings, Sele had one strikeout and two walks.
Sele is expected to make his next start. … Cameron had words for Rodriguez after being hit. … The crowd of 45,552 was Seattle’s 22nd sellout this season. … It was Garcia’s second straight start throwing to C Pat Borders. He lost 2-1 on Sept. 7 at Camden Yards. “He didn’t deserve that lossat Baltimore,” Borders said.