''I had a great time,'' said Meche, who missed the 2001 season
after reconstructive shoulder surgery and spent last year in the
minors. ''Pitching in Seattle is wonderful. I just wanted to show
everyone I could do it and show the fans I'm back.''
It was a big night for Cirillo, too.
When he came up with the bases loaded and one out in the first,
Cirillo was hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He lined a shot that
hit Ryan Drese (0-1) in the foot and bounced into the infield.
John Olerud scored from third to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead
and fans rose to their feet in a rousing cheer as Cirillo reached
''This is a big game for me,'' Cirillo said. ''I totally
abandoned what I'd done all spring, a little toe tap and standing
straight up. I squatted down lower. All I wanted to do was get a
chance where the ball wasn't on top of me.''
The Mariners had 14 hits and snapped a three-game losing streak.
After scoring three runs in their previous 30 innings, they got six
in the first against Drese, who threw 38 pitches and got only one
''It was a good night for everyone,'' said Bret Boone, who hit a
solo home run to right, his first of the season, in the seventh.
Meche (1-1) wasn't overpowering but threw well enough for his
first major league victory since beating Baltimore 8-3 on June 23,
2000. His season ended later that year when his shoulder problems
''You go 0-1 and the worst thing you can do is go 0-2,'' said
Meche, who lost to the Rangers last week. ''This gives me a big
boost of confidence, though I'm really looking forward to seeing
these guys leave. They've got some good hitters.''
''We're solid, one through nine,'' Mariners manager Bob Melvin
said. ''When we're swinging the bats solid, you're just as easily
going to get beat up by the bottom of our order as anywhere else.''
The Rangers led 2-0 after Carl Everett was hit by a pitch and
Alex Rodriguez drove a 392-foot home run into the center-field
bleachers. Fans booed the former Mariners shortstop as he circled
Seattle recovered quickly, though, scoring six runs in the
bottom of the first. Drese, making his first start of the season,
threw eight balls in his first 10 pitches, walking Suzuki and Randy
''I was rushing,'' Drese said. ''I might have been a little
anxious. It was my first game of the year, but I'm anxious before
every game. It can't get much worse than that, I don't think.''
Cirillo's slow start was troubling because he was determined not
to repeat his struggles from last season. A career .304 hitter and
two-time All-Star, he hit .249 in his first season in Seattle.
He showed no signs of the slump, giving the Mariners an 11-3
lead in the sixth with a two-run single to right.
''His attitude has been great,'' Melvin said. ''Hard work pays
Meche, who spent last season at Double-A San Antonio, went 5 2/3
innings and got a big cheer from fans and a handshake from Melvin
as he departed and Giovanni Carrara took over.
Meche walked four and struck out six, allowing three earned runs
on five hits.
Rodriguez went down after Carrara hit him in the left elbow
with a high fastball in the seventh. Rodriguez left as a precaution
but was expected to play in the series finale Sunday. ''It's a
stinger on the elbow, more on the muscle than the bone,'' manager
Buck Showalter said. ... After Drese's rough first inning, Texas
starters' ERA jumped to 8.29 (43 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings).
... Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique,
will play for Double-A Frisco in a three-game series at Tulsa next
week and should rejoin the Rangers in Oakland on Friday. ... Third baseman
Hank Blalock, who singled in the sixth to break an 0-for-12 skid,
had two of Texas' three errors. The Rangers have six this season.
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