Relaford spoils Reed's gem as M's triumph

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners might go on strike

Friday, but they won't be going hungry.

Desi Relaford ruined Rick Reed's masterpiece with a leadoff

homer in the eighth inning, helping Jamie Moyer and the Mariners

salvage a disappointing week with a 2-0 win over the Minnesota

Twins on Thursday.

Relaford and Ben Davis, whose sacrifice fly gave Seattle

insurance in the ninth, will be rewarded for their run-scoring

swings by manager Lou Piniella.

"I told the players before the game that I'm buying steaks for

RBIs,'' Piniella said. "I guess I'm buying two steaks. I was

hoping to have to buy eight or nine.''

They had to start somewhere.

The Mariners, four games behind idle Oakland in the AL West, won

for only the second time in six games and kept their second-half

record from dropping to .500. Seattle tied Anaheim in the wild-card

race, pending the Angels' game against Tampa Bay later Thursday,

but the Mariners managed only five runs in the series and several

of their experienced hitters are in slumps.

"It's getting down to the close right now,'' Relaford said,

"and we need all parts of the game. Our offense hasn't been


The Mariners left the Metrodome to return to Seattle, where

they're scheduled to play Kansas City this weekend -- provided a

strike doesn't wipe out the series, or more.

"Let's hope we swing the bats as well or better in our own

ballpark and start getting on a roll,'' Piniella said. "It was

good to win a ballgame, but the best thing we could all get would

be to play a ballgame Friday night. We'll see what happens on that

front. But we go home on a good note.''

Moyer, who struck out seven, gave up five hits and one walk in

seven scoreless innings. Winning for the first time in four starts,

Moyer (13-6) improved to 10-5 in his career against the Twins. He

gave up an infield single to Denny Hocking leading off the eighth

before yielding to Arthur Rhodes.

Jacque Jones sacrificed and Luis Rivas moved Hocking to third

with a groundout, but Corey Koskie ended the inning with a lineout

to Jeff Cirillo at third and Kazuhiro Sasaki pitched the ninth for

his 33rd save in 38 attempts.

"Not a lot of offense today,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire

said. "That's what happens when you get two high-caliber teams

like we did in here.''

Minnesota, 1-8 against Seattle last year, won two of three in

the series -- a crisply played, well-attended series that had a

postseason feel to it. That's something fans here could miss out on

if there's a lengthy strike, but the Twins, who have a 16-game lead

on Chicago in the AL Central, were confident they'd be back this


They scrambled from their clubhouse afterward to catch a flight

for Oakland -- where they're scheduled to play a three-game series

with the A's.

"I'm going to Oakland,'' Reed said. "That's all I know.''

Reed (12-7) took a shutout into the eighth, but Relaford hit his

first pitch of the inning into the folded-up football seats over

the right field wall to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

"He had been throwing me cutters and changeups, and I just kind

of had a hunch that he was going to come in with a fastball,''

Relaford said. "It was just kind of a guess.''

Reed allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, while

striking out eight, and Mike Jackson gave up the sacrifice fly to

Davis in the ninth.

"Reed threw a good game,'' Piniella said, "but Moyer threw a

little better.''

Game notes

Mike Cameron led off the fifth with a single, but he was

picked off again _ for the third time in the last two games. ...

The Mariners, 3-4 against the Minnesota this year, haven't lost a

season series to the Twins since 1992. The two teams are scheduled

to play again Monday and Wednesday in Seattle. ... The Twins have

80 wins before Sept. 1 for only the second time in club history.

They also did it in 1965, when they won 102 games and reached the

World Series. ... Edgar Martinez's hitless streak reached 13

at-bats. ... In his last 10 games, Mientkiewicz is 15-for-33 with

five doubles. ... The Twins optioned RHP Juan Rincon to Triple-A

Edmonton after the game, but they'll hold off on filling his roster

spot until the labor situation is settled.