1996 Game Recap: Record 52nd Home Run
Athletics 13, Mariners 11

SEATTLE (Sep 23, 1996 - 04:00 EST) -- The Seattle Mariners' pitching, the club's weakness all season, finally caught up to their hitters.

In a game that saw Mark McGwire hit two mammoth home runs, the Mariners couldn't quite overcome a 13-3 deficit before losing 13-11 Sunday.

"When you score 13 runs, you should win," Oakland manager Art Howe said.

It was a costly defeat for the Mariners, who had their club-record 10-game winning streak broken.

On a day when AL West-leading Texas and wild-card leader Baltimore won, Seattle dropped two back of the Rangers in the division race and 1 1/2 behind in the wild-card chase.

"Our offense has been playing really good," said Edgar Martinez, who went 8-for-10 with a home run, three RBIs and four walks in Seattle's three-game weekend series with Oakland.

Because of McGwire's homers, it wasn't good enough in the Mariners' regular-season home finale.

McGwire led off the fifth with his 51st home run and capped the inning with a grand slam.

"McGwire's capable, I'll tell you that," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said.

How capable?

"His season has been phenomenal," teammate Terry Steinbach said. "The last couple of years he's battled injuries and people have questioned his toughness. It's just fun to watch the guy. He has a perfect swing for a power hitter."

The A's scored eight runs in the fifth, but had to stave off a comeback by the Mariners, who played their final home game this season before 54,194 fans.

McGwire's two homers were blasts of beauty. After the game, the A's players gathered around a TV set and watched them with oohs and aahs.

He led off the fifth with a 473-foot homer off Rusty Meacham off the Kingdome's second-deck facade in left field. Later in the inning he hit his 52nd homer, a 481-foot shot to left off rookie Matt Wagner.

McGwire is the 30th major leaguer to hit two homers in one inning and the fourth player this year.

McGwire swung at the first pitch both times.

"I hit those home runs on the only two pitches I saw in those whole series that I could drive," McGwire said. "It's tough being in hitting situations and not seeing anything to hit. The key is patience and more patience. Sometimes it pays off."

Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle's All-Star center fielder and home-run leader with 47, watched McGwire's homers in awe.

"Those were two the longest balls I've ever seen hit," Griffey said. "They shortchanged him on that tale of the tape. Both those balls were over 500 feet."

Scott Spiezo hit a three-run homer, his first in the majors, as Oakland scored eight runs in the fifth.

A sellout crowd of 54,194 -- the third sellout in the series -- watched the Mariners rally with seven runs in the bottom of the inning.

"We came right back at them," Piniella said. "I thought we'd win the ball game once we got close. What are you going to do? We scored 11 runs today and we didn't win."

In the Seattle fifth, Martinez, Jay Buhner and Paul Sorrento had run-scoring singles, and Dave Hollins singled in two more runs. The A's allowed another run in the inning on third baseman Scott Brosius' throwing error.

Trailing 3-0, the A's scored five runs in the fifth when they had four hits and four walks to chase starter Terry Mulholland (5-3). Geronimo Berroa doubled in two runs, a passed ball by John Marzano allowed another run to score and Brian Lesher hit an RBI double.

The Mariners scored an unearned run in the first when right fielder Berroa dropped Griffey's fly ball. Seattle scored two unearned runs in the second because of first baseman McGwire's throwing error.

Mike Mohler (6-3) got the win in relief, and Billy Taylor pitched two innings for his 15th save.

Oakland starter Ariel Prieto went 4 1-3 innings, allowing 10 runs and six hits. Mulholland lasted only 2 1-3 innings, his shortest stint this season. Notes: The Mariners drew a single-season record 2,722,074 fans. The previous mark was 2,147,905 set in 1991. ... McGwire hit his second and fourth longest homers of his career-high homer season. He had a 488-foot homer in Toronto July 25, his longest this year, and a 475-foot shot in Minnesota on June 9. ... McGwire has eight career grand slams. ... The A's set a major league record with 130 road home runs, breaking the old mark of 128 set by the 1961 New York Yankees. ... Berroa got his 100th RBI of the season. ... Seattle's Chris Bosio pitched two scoreless innings in relief in his first appearance since Aug. 30. He left the game with a strained right calf before the start of the eighth.

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