It didn’t seem possible that Melido Perez could win after throwing 40 pitches in the first inning on Tuesday night.
But there the New York Yankees right-hander stood in the eighth inning, holding a one-run lead, four outs away from a victory.
Then, the Seattle Mariners erupted.
The Mariners scored five runs in the eighth to pull out a thrilling 7-3 victory before a crowd of 10,709 in the Kingdome on Tuesday night.
In all, 10 batters came to the plate for the Mariners in the inning. The Yankees bullpen crumbled as Bob Wickham and Steve Howe failed to preserve Perez’ lead.
Edgar Martinez singled with two outs off Wickham to tie the score at 3. And for the second night in a row, Rich Amaral came through with the big blow, hitting a two-run single off Howe.
Amaral homered in the 12th inning in the Mariners’ 8-7 victory over New York on Monday.
On Tuesday, Chad Kreuter added to the barrage with a two-out single to help the Mariners (18-13) win their third in a row.
Seattle also improved to 3-1 without Ken Griffey, Jr., who broke his wrist on Friday.
Reliever Steve Frey came in in the ninth and slammed the door on the Yankees (13-16), allowing one hit.
Reliever Jeff Nelson (2-0) got the victory. He pitched the eighth inning, allowing no runs but one hit.
Perez (2-2) took the loss despite retiring 18 batters in a row at one point after a disastrous first inning. He threw 129 pitches.
Bernie Williams put New York ahead, 3-2, in the eighth as the Yankees rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
Williams singled off reliever Nelson with one out to score Dion James from second, breaking a 2-2 tie.
Neither Nelson nor Ron Villone could preserve a 2-1 lead for starter Tim Belcher.
Belcher pitched six innings for the Mariners, his longest outing of the season. The 33-year-old right-hander, who the Mariners got in a trade from Cincinnati for Roger Salkeld, allowed eight hits and two earned runs.
Had Belcher (2-0) won, he would have earned more major-league victories in two weeks with the Mariners than Salkeld earned in six years. Salkeld’s major-league record with Seattle was 2-5.
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