Hargrove Stuns Mariners by Resigning

Monday, July 2nd 2007, 7:25 am
By: News On 6

The Seattle Mariners never saw it coming. Not in the middle of a long winning streak. Mike Hargrove stunned his team Sunday when the manager resigned hours before the Mariners rallied past the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 for their eighth consecutive victory _ the longest current run in the major leagues.

``To see a manager step out like this, you kind of still don't understand what's going on,'' outfielder Jose Guillen said.

Hargrove managed the team Sunday and then yielded to John McLaren, his bench coach. McLaren's first game will be Monday night at Kansas City.

Hargrove left saying his ``passion has begun to fade'' after 37 years in baseball, even though Seattle is on its best tear in four years. He became the first big league manager since at least 1900 to depart while on a winning streak of more than seven games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

His players were left to respect Hargrove's decision, if not understand it. Why would he stay on through six consecutive losing seasons in Baltimore and Seattle only to leave in the middle of the Mariners' surprising turnaround?

``There are no dark, sinister reasons for this decision. This has been my decision,'' the 57-year-old Hargrove said about 90 minutes before the first pitch of his finale. ``I have no reason to lie.''

Then, after his 1,188th and apparently final major league win, he said: ``I don't expect people to understand it, I really don't, because at times I don't understand it myself.''

Guillen hit a tying homer in the eighth inning and a game-ending single off third baseman Troy Glaus' glove in the ninth for the Mariners, who got another strong outing from a rejuvenated Jeff Weaver.

Seattle (45-33) moved 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season.

``I won the first game I managed in and the last one,'' said a red-eyed Hargrove, who was in his 16th season as a big league manager. ``Pretty good bookends.''

In other AL games, it was: Los Angeles 4, Baltimore 3; Detroit 1, Minnesota 0; Cleveland 3, Tampa Bay 2; Oakland 11, New York 5; Texas 2, Boston 1; and Chicago 3, Kansas City 1.

Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo (1-3) began the bottom of the ninth by walking Adrian Beltre on a 3-2 pitch. Raul Ibanez then singled before Guillen's hit.

All-Star closer J.J. Putz (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Afterward, the Mariners were still coming to grips with Hargrove's departure.

``Definitely a weird day. Strange. Sad,'' Ibanez said. ``I've never been through something like that.''

Frank Thomas hit his 501st home run for Toronto.

Angels 4, Orioles 3

At Baltimore, John Lackey (11-6) outpitched rookie Jeremy Guthrie (4-2) to earn his 11th win, and Casey Kotchman and Mike Napoli hit slump-breaking home runs for the Angels, who improved to 51-31 _ the best record in franchise history after 82 games.

Francisco Rodriguez got out of a jam in the ninth for his 24th save in 26 chances.

Tigers 1, Twins 0

At Detroit, Jeremy Bonderman beat Scott Baker in an old-fashioned pitchers' duel, and Marcus Thames homered with two outs in the eighth to help the Tigers avert a three-game sweep.

Bonderman (9-1) allowed six hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking one. Baker (2-3) nearly matched him, giving up three hits and throwing only 79 pitches for his first complete game in 33 major league starts.

Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 24 attempts, ending a game that lasted only 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Indians 3, Devil Rays 2

At Cleveland, Cliff Lee (5-4) struck out nine to win for the third time in four starts, and Joe Borowski gave up Delmon Young's sacrifice fly in the ninth before recording his 24th save in 26 chances and 12th in a row since May 13.

James Shields (6-4) struck out 10 in 6 1-3 innings but lost his fourth straight start.

Athletics 11, Yankees 5

At New York, Jack Cust and Dan Johnson homered off Andy Pettitte (4-6) in Oakland's seven-run second inning.

Dan Haren (10-2) pitched 5 1-3 innings to win his career-best 10th straight decision and improve to 4-0 in seven starts against the Yankees.

Rangers 2, Red Sox 1

At Boston, Kameron Loe (5-6) beat Julian Tavarez (5-6) to win his fourth consecutive start, and hasn't lost since being sent to Triple-A after winning once in his first 15 starts. Eric Gagne got four outs for his 10th save.

White Sox 3, Royals 1

At Kansas City, Mo., Jon Garland (6-5) went seven innings to improve to 15-5 in 28 starts against the Royals. Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances.

John Thomson (1-1), signed June 22 after being released by Toronto, allowed two runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings.