Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 11° Clear
Sports

Milestone not caught yet


Seattle center fielder Jeremy Reed could only watch Sal Fasano's fifth-inning homer land in the stands as Baltimore defeated the Mariners Thursday night at Safeco Field. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Seattle center fielder Jeremy Reed could only watch Sal Fasano's fifth-inning homer land in the stands as Baltimore defeated the Mariners Thursday night at Safeco Field. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Tim Korte Associated Press

SEATTLE – Sure, Rafael Palmeiro can wait another day.

The Baltimore first baseman moved within one hit of 3,000, Daniel Cabrera pitched a two-hitter through eight innings and the Orioles opened the second half with a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

Jay Gibbons hit a two-run homer and Sal Fasano added a solo shot as the Orioles erased an early 3-0 deficit on a night when Cabrera (8-7) was tough to hit and Baltimore pulled one game behind American League East-leading Boston.

But the story was Palmeiro’s bid for history, and even Mariners fans cheered him each time he came up.

“It’s unfortunate for the pitcher,” Palmeiro said. “I’m sure once I get it over with, they won’t do it any more. They’ll be booing me.”

With 566 home runs, Palmeiro is poised to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

Palmeiro got career hit No. 2,999 with a one-out single to right in the fourth. It was a clean liner off starter Aaron Sele (6-9).

“At that point, I thought I might get it done tonight,” said Palmeiro, who tries again today against Joel Pineiro. “I had two or three at-bats left. I felt good, and these guys don’t pitch around me.”

Gibbons followed with a high shot off the facing of the middle deck in right, trimming Seattle’s lead to 3-2.

Palmeiro went 1 for 3 with a walk. He grounded out in the second and sixth and walked in the eighth, resulting in boos from a home crowd known for its devotion to the Mariners.

“The fans just wanted to see it happen,” said Palmeiro, who admitted being warmed by the response. “It’s going to happen eventually. If not tonight, then tomorrow or the next night.”

Palmeiro was on deck when Miguel Tejada was retired to end the top of the ninth, drawing more boos. Every time Palmeiro stepped up, his teammates leaned on the dugout railing and flashbulbs popped on every pitch.

B.J. Ryan struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.

“A great way to start the second half,” Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Fasano tied it for Baltimore leading off the fifth, sending Sele’s first pitch into the front row of the center-field stands – beyond the reach of Jeremy Reed.

Baltimore went ahead 4-3 in the sixth. Gibbons hit a one-out single, advanced on a walk by Luis Matos, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Larry Bigbie’s sacrifice fly.

Sammy Sosa capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Cabrera was strong all night, holding the Mariners to a season-low two hits. The 6-foot-7 right-hander was dominant, logging one walk and six strikeouts. He threw only four pitches in the fifth.

Sele pitched six innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.