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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2001

Lima cools off Mariners

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - The Seattle Mariners have the best record in baseball. By far.

For one night, though, Seattle's gaudy record didn't faze right-hander Jose Lima or the Detroit Tigers.

Lima improved his record to 3-0 at Comerica Park in four starts since rejoining the team and the Tigers extended their winning streak to three games with a 4-2 victory over the Mariners before 30,022 fans.

Lima, obtained from the Houston Astros last month for Dave Mlicki and cash, allowed six hits and two runs in eight innings while walking three and striking out five. Closer Matt Anderson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 13th save.

Lima, who has pitched seven or more innings in his last three starts, also helped snap Seattle's four-game winning streak.

“We played a great ballgame tonight and Lima was just outstanding,” Tigers manager Phil Garner said. “There was a real tight strike zone and Lima didn't get frustrated. He pitched a masterful game.

“He made good pitches all night long. He really was on top of his game. He had a good slider working and he moved the ball around really well. He'd mix in his fastball here and there. He just pounded the zone.”

The Mariners, who have maintained a blistering pace in the AL West Division, lost for just the 14th time in 54 road games. Seattle is 76-30 overall and finished 18-9 in the month of July.

Although the Mariners lead the league in scoring, they are just 3-12 in their past 15 games when scoring three or fewer runs.

“It's been like a dream season for them so far,” Lima said. “They're playing superbly. They have been doing all the little things you need to do to win ballgames and they've got Ichiro (Suzuki) and a great manager in Lou Piniella. I don't know what more you can ask for. They've been doing everything right.

“That's why it feels so good to get the best of them tonight. This was one of my best outings in a while.”

Aaron Sele, one of four Mariners pitchers with at least 10 victories, had been 4-1 in the month of July before losing to the Tigers last night.

Sele (12-3) scattered nine hits and allowed four runs in 61/3 innings while walking two batters and striking out one.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first. Leadoff hitter Roger Cedeno opened with a single to center off Sele, stole second and scored on Bobby Higginson's one-out triple to the gap in right-center field.

Robert Fick followed with a single to right, scoring Higginson.

Cedeno added a two-out RBI single in the third, stretching Detroit's lead to 3-0.

The Mariners got on the scoreboard twice in the sixth.

Cedeno, who rejected a three-year, $13.5-million contract offer to stay with the Tigers earlier this year, had his 10th two-hit game while stretching his hitting streak to eight games. He also swiped his league-leading 39th base.

Cedeno was not dealt before yesterday's 4 p.m. trading deadline, as many had speculated he would, but the Tigers leadoff hitter said he still plans to test the free-agent market at the end of the season.

“I want to go to the market and see what's going on,” he said. “I want the opportunity to at least do that. But I will leave the door open for the team.”

Seattle finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, scoring twice to cut Detroit's lead to 3-2.

John Olerud singled with one out, moved to second on a walk to Mike Cameron and scored when Al Martin's chopper hopped over the glove of Tigers first baseman Tony Clark and trickled into right field.

Carlos Guillen then lined a ball to shallow left that was caught by Higginson.

However, Higginson's throw to catcher Robert Fick was high and off line, allowing Cam- eron to score on the sacrifice fly.

However, Detroit regained its two-run cushion in the bottom of the sixth when Juan Encarnacion opened with a double to left. He went to third on Randall Simon's single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Shane Halter.

The Tigers improved to 10-3 against AL West teams this year. They have won five of their last seven home games against the Mariners dating to last season.

“It feels good to beat a good team like Seattle,” Garner said. “Hopefully, we can keep playing good baseball and keep this winning streak going.”



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