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Monday, April 1, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mariners

Opening day: M's lose 6-5 as rally falls short

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners will not go wire-to-wire in the AL West this season.

The Mariners, who led the entire way en route to a major league record-tying 116 wins last season, fell short in their opener Monday when Mike Cameron flied out with the bases loaded to end a 6-5 loss to Chicago White Sox.

Seattle rallied for four runs in the eighth to make it 6-5, then threatened in the ninth against Keith Foulke.

Mark McLemore and Ichiro Suzuki led off with singles and moved up on Jeff Cirillo’s sacrifice. But Bret Boone grounded back to Foulke and, after Edgar Martinez was intentionally walked, Cameron hit a routine fly ball.

Mark Buehrle (1-0) pitched six innings for the win. He gave up two hits, including a home run by Cameron.

A crowd of 46,036, the largest for a regular-season game at Safeco Field, almost saw Seattle rally to win.

Martinez hit a two-run single off Gary Glover in the eighth and Carlos Guillen followed with a two-run double off Damaso Marte. But Bob Howry relieved and retired pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra on a grounder with runners on second and third to end the inning.

Suzuki, the AL MVP, had three hits.

Buehrle, a 16-game winner in his first full season in the majors in 2001, struck out five and walked two. He retired 13 in a row before he walked Cirillo with one out in the sixth.

Sandy Alomar Jr., who hit 40 points below his career average last season at .245, gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with a two-run double in the sixth against Freddy Garcia (0-1).

Alomar, 35, has had 10 knee surgeries in his career, eight on his left knee.

The White Sox made it 6-1 with four runs in the seventh off Garcia and Ryan Franklin.

Garcia walked Ray Durham and Franklin walked Magglio Ordonez. Franklin gave up a two-run double to Paul Konerko, a run-scoring single to Jose Valentin and a home run to Lee.

Lee and Konerko each went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Garcia, last season’s ERA champion at 3.05 last season when he won 18 games, was touched for three runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 1-3 innings. He didn’t have a strikeout.

Notes: Cirillo, in his Mariners’ debut, turned in the defensive play of the game in the fifth when he barehanded Kenny Lofton’s bunt up the third-base line and threw him out. ... The Mariners played their eighth consecutive season opener at home. It was the franchise’s 26th home opener, including 20 of them at either the Kingdome or Safeco Field.

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