Mariners gain more ground

Seattle Mariners' Ryan Langerhans, right, is greeted by third base coach Bruce Hines as Langerhans rounds the bases on his game-winning 2-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the 10th inning Tuesday during a baseball game in Seattle. The Mariners won 4-2. <BR><I>AP Photo</I>

SEATTLE - Mariners defensive replacement Ryan Langerhans was preparing to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning Tuesday night when veteran teammate Mike Sweeney gave him an unsolicited pep talk.

"C'mon, man! Just pop the tape in the VCR and hit play!" the former Oakland Athletics said to Langerhans.

Langerhans channeled the vision of his last big hit in a similar situation, then nailed a pitch from Oakland's Craig Breslow for his second game-ending home run as a late-game substitute in three weeks that sent scrappy Seattle to a 4-2 victory over the Athletics.

Franklin Gutierrez's singled with one out in the 10th off Breslow (5-7), who is tied for the most losses among major league relievers. It was Gutierrez's fifth hit and seventh time on base in the two games he's been leading off while Ichiro Suzuki rests a tight calf muscle.

Then Langerhans, who entered for defense the inning before, smacked a 2-2 pitch into the first row of seats beyond right field. His winning homer landed in almost the same spot his two-run shot in the 11th inning on Aug. 7, when he entered in the seventh inning and then beat Tampa Bay.

Guess who was the first to meet Langerhans screaming "I told you so!" amid his latest mobbing at home plate. Yep, Sweeney's grin was as big as his advice.

"When I crossed the plate, he was beaming," said Langerhans, who spent two games with Oakland in 2007 between stints with Atlanta and Washington.

Mark Lowe (2-6) pitched the 10th for the win that kept Seattle on the fringes of the AL wild-card race at 7 1/2 games out. Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. got the small, quiet crowd on its feet during a pinch-hitting appearance with a man on and one out in the eighth against Michael Wuertz. Griffey was 4 for 6 with two home runs against him, but the 39-year-old slugger struck out.


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