SEATTLE -- It seemed only fitting that Edgar Martinez -- the "Ancient Mariner" -- would play such a big part in a game that sent the American League West champions into the AL Championship Series for the second straight year and third time in franchise history.
|Edgar Martinez (left) came to play in Monday's decisive Game 5.
Despite aggravating a previous groin injury during Game 4 in Cleveland on Sunday, Martinez came to play in Monday's decisive Game 5 at SAFECO Field. He walked in the second inning and scored the Mariners' first run and lined a single into left-center field in the eighth to drive in the final run in a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
After advancing to second base on John Olerud's single in the eighth, Martinez was lifted for a pinch runner.
"I didn't want to come out of the game," he said, "but it was a situation where we needed that run and we have guys who can run."
Al Martin and Charles Gipson both came out of the dugout to replace Martinez at second, but Martin is the one who actually did the pinch-running.
"If someone had gotten a hit, I don't know if I could have scored," Martinez admitted.
He will have more medical treatment on his injury on Tuesday while the Mariners work out and get ready to open the ALCS Wednesday afternoon at SAFECO.
FINAL OUT: Third baseman David Bell said he was ready, willing and anxious to have the final ball hit in Game 5 come to him. "I think everyone on the field wants the ball hit to them in that situation," he said. "You are extra ready and I was glad to make the last play. I was definitely ready for it."
Juan Gonzalez hit the ball hard on an 0-and-2 pitch, but the ball took a true bounce into Bell's glove and he made a strong and accurate throw to first baseman Olerud. When the Indians eliminated the Mariners in the 1995 ALCS, Jay Buhner hit a grounder to third base for the final out in that series.
SELE GETS GAME 1 START: Shortly after accepting congratulations for their Division Series win, Manager Lou Piniella announced that right-hander Aaron Sele -- a 15-game winner during the regular season -- will start Game 1 of the ALCS. Sele started Game 3 of the Division Series and lasted only two innings in the 17-2 debacle that put the Mariners in a must-win situation.
The Mariners will have a light workout Tuesday afternoon and management will sit down and decide the makeup of the ALCS roster. Piniella said there is a possibility of shortstop Carlos Guillen getting medical clearance to be activated. Guillen missed the Division Series because of pulmonary tuberculosis.
There will be 11 pitchers carried in the best-of-seven ALCS, one more than in the Division Series. Either Joel Pineiro or Ryan Franklin -- both right-handed -- will be added and one player removed, possibly Ed Sprague.
NOT TOO SHABBY: The Mariners now have a 7-3 record in elimination games. They are 2-0 this year, were 3-1 in 1995 (beating the Yankees three straight before losing Game 6 of the ALCS to Cleveland), 1-1 in 1997 against the Orioles and 1-1 against the Yankees last year.
NERVE-WRACKING: If you are a baseball fan, you had an opportunity to see five exciting baseball games in this Series," outfielder Buhner said. "Well, four exciting baseball games. That 17-2 disaster wasn't too exciting. But I'm sure everyone watching [Game 5] was as nervous as we were."
PIECE OF CAKE: Center fielder Mike Cameron said the pressure factor in Game 5 didn't compare to Game 4 in Cleveland. "Yesterday [Sunday] was so much more intense. I came here [Monday] like it was a regular day."
NO PROBLEM:Buhner said he knew after the team's 17-2 loss in Game 3 that all was okay. "Everyone in here pulled for each other and believed we were going to come back," he said. "A lot of us stayed in the clubhouse after that game, had a few beers and laughed off the adversity. We came back the next day and played a good game. This is a great group of guys."
WE GOT NO CHAMPAGNE: The Mariners didn't spray champagne all over themselves after clinching the AL West title because the clinching came so soon after the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Western Pennsylvania. On orders from the Commissioner's Office, spraying the bubbly Monday was a no-no according to several players.
Jim Street covers the Mariners for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.