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Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

Seattle completes sweep of White Sox

October 7, 2000

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— The Seattle Mariners used a squeeze to sweep.

Shutting down the highest-scoring team in the majors for the third straight game, the wild card Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox, 2-1, on bunt single by pinch-hitter Carlos Guillen in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday.

The Mariners, who didn't clinch their postseason spot until the final day of the regular season, won their AL playoff series with one out when pinch-runner Rickey Henderson scored on Guillen's bunt.

Guillen made the decision to bunt on his own.

But he had some good advice from manager Lou Piniella.

"I told him Rickey's on third," Piniella said. "Push it towards (first baseman Frank) Thomas. It was a perfect, perfect bunt."

Guillen said he understood Piniella's meaning perfectly. On an 0-1 pitch from Keith Foulke, Guillen dragged a sharp bunt past a lunging Thomas.

"Lou told me to hit the ball to Frank Thomas," said Guillen, who made his first appearance in the series. "He doesn't play first base that much. I wanted to bring Rickey Henderson to home plate. I made the decision (to bunt). I did it myself."

Thomas played first base in 30 games and was the White Sox DH for 127 during the regular season. He was the DH in the first two games.

"It was a perfect bunt, a perfect spot," Thomas said. "He threaded the needle there," Thomas said. "The only thing you can do there is catch it in the air."

John Olerud led off the ninth inning with a hard liner off the stomach of Kelly Wunsch. The reliever scrambled to pick up the ball, but he threw it wildly past Thomas.

"I just wished he'd have held it, but he wanted to get him out," Thomas said.

Olerud reached second on a play scored as a single and an error. Henderson, baseball's career stolen base king and second on the all-time runs list, replaced Olerud, and Keith Foulke relieved Wunsch.

Henderson moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stan Javier, and David Bell drew a four-pitch walk.

With Chicago's infield and outfield playing in, Guillen, batting for Joe Oliver, dragged a sharp bunt between the mound and first base. When the ball rolled past a lunging Thomas, Henderson easily scored.

Guillen was one of the players the Mariners received from the Houston Astros in the trade for ace Randy Johnson on July 31, 1998.

The 3-0 sweep in the opening round achieved in the year the Mariners traded Ken Griffey Jr. to Cincinnati sent the Mariners into the AL championship series for the first time since 1995. They will play the winner of the Oakland-Yankees series.

Seattle's bullpen again was a key to the game.

Jose Paniagua got the victory by striking out Magglio Ordonez for the final out in the ninth. Arthur Rhodes pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings before Paniagua entered.

Wunsch, who was doubled over in pain in the dugout, took the loss.

The White Sox, who scored 978 runs this season more than six per game managed only seven runs and 17 hits in the series.

Chicago finished with a batting average of .185 (17-for-92) in the series after batting .286 in the regular season.

"The Chicago team has a lot of explosive bats. They can put a lot of runs on the board. Our bullpen and starting pitching that's been our story all year long," Olerud said.

In the first playoff game ever at Safeco Field, the AL's best road team managed only three hits off Aaron Sele, Rhodes and Paniagua. The White Sox also hit into three double plays.

Thomas, Chicago's best hitter, was 0-for-9 with four walks in the series. He was 0-for-2 with two walks Friday.

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the second when Harold Baines led off with a double and eventually scored on Herbert Perry's sacrifice fly. Baines barely slid under Oliver at the plate.

The Mariners tied it in the fourth on Javier's RBI single.

Chicago's James Baldwin gave the White Sox a strong six innings despite a case of painful tendinitis in his right shoulder. He threw 92 pitches in his longest appearance since Aug. 12.

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