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Baseball

AL: Tigers pitcher loses No. 20

By Associated Press
Published September 6, 2003

TORONTO - Mike Maroth is determined to not let the label "20-game loser" hurt his career.

Maroth became the first major-league pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 in a season as the Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 8-6 on Friday night.

"I'm a strong person. I'm going to overcome this. I know that," he said. "Hopefully, next year and the rest of this year I'll be able to prove that."

Maroth (6-20) allowed eight runs and nine hits in three-plus innings, becoming the first 20-game loser since Oakland's Brian Kingman went 8-20 in 1980.

Before the game, Maroth learned his grandmother had died, but he insisted on pitching.

"I have no regrets about the way I pitched tonight," he said. "I went out there with everything I had. I didn't pitch well, but at least I can sleep good knowing that I gave it everything I had. Mentally, I was fine."

Maroth said he appreciated the support of his family and teammates.

"It's a tough time for me," he said. "For them to be there and support me, that's what a true teammate is."

Kingman, who wanted to remain the last 20-game loser, attended and brought a voodoo doll. It's the same doll he took to four other starts in which a major-league pitcher could have lost his 20th but didn't.

Maroth wasted 2-0 and 5-2 leads as Kingman kept his doll - nicknamed "The King" - by his feet. Asked if he would destroy the doll if Maroth lost, Kingman said: "He'll be 4-1. That's a whole lot better than I was, so I'm going to keep him."

Toronto ended the Tigers' three-game winning streak despite a poor start by Mark Hendrickson, who allowed five runs and seven hits in three innings.

RED SOX 9, YANKEES 3: Visiting Boston gave Pedro Martinez a lead he couldn't lose and quickly turned this one into a laugher.

Johnny Damon tripled with the bases loaded and the Red Sox roughed up Andy Pettitte to cut New York's East lead to 21/2.

"I felt really good in my mind, really until the third inning," Pettitte said. "And then I got out of sync."

Martinez struck out nine in six easy innings, cruising to his first win in four starts against the Yankees this season. Boston had not been so close to first place since Aug. 7.

"I don't think anybody's scared of anybody - but they know we're here," catcher Jason Varitek said. "They've known we're here all year."

WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 3: Paul Konerko and Magglio Ordonez homered as host Chicago held on to stay tied with Minnesota atop the Central.

Konerko hit a three-run homer in the second and Ordonez added a home run in the fifth off Billy Traber as the White Sox built a five-run lead and survived an eighth-inning rally.

Jon Garland improved to 2-7 against the Indians. He escaped a potentially big first inning when Carlos Lee leaped and banged into the leftfield wall to pull down Ben Broussard's drive with a runner on second.

TWINS 10, RANGERS 7: Cristian Guzman hit a three-run triple and Juan Rincon pitched three outstanding innings of relief for host Minnesota.

Rincon (4-6) threw three perfect innings after starter Johan Santana faltered for the first time in a month, nearly squandering an 8-2 lead. But Guzman had a career-high four RBIs.

MARINERS 6, ORIOLES 4 (13): Kerry Ligtenberg hit Bret Boone with a pitch in the 13th, forcing in the tiebreaking run as visiting Seattle won.

Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run homer and Carlos Guillen drove in three runs for the Mariners.

Seattle, coming off consecutive shutout losses at Tampa Bay, blew a three-run lead before winning.

With one out in the 13th, Suzuki singled and took third on a double by Randy Winn. After Edgar Martinez was walked intentionally Ligtenberg struck Boone with a pitch in the arm.

Guillen followed with a sacrifice fly, and Arthur Rhodes retired Brook Fordyce in the bottom of the 13th with runners on second and third.

ROYALS 5, ANGELS 0: Brian Anderson pitched a seven-hitter for his third career shutout and Mike Sweeney got his 1,000th career hit for visiting Kansas City.

[Last modified September 6, 2003, 02:01:52]


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