The American League wild-card race squeezes tighter nearly every day as 2 1/2 games separate four contenders - Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle and Mike Greenwell.
And it seems no one can produce runs like Greenwell can. No one in baseball history ever has - at least for one game.
The Boston left fielder, hitting eighth in the Red Sox lineup, set a major-league record last night by driving in all nine of his team's runs.
That was one more than Seattle's evening output as the Mariners lost 9-8 in 10 innings.
The loss at the Kingdome kept the Mariners (71-66) two games behind co-leaders Chicago (74-65) and Baltimore (73-64) in the AL wild-card race. Boston (71-67), which has won 24 of its past 32 games, is 2 1/2 games behind.
"You always point to certain games (victories) during the year as big ones," Greenwell said. "This was one of them."
Greenwell had two home runs - including a seventh-inning grand slam - and a double and single. His 10th-inning single drove home Wil Cordero with the winning run.
"I'm comfortable, relaxed, I'm seeing the ball well," Greenwell said. "I've got it going for me."
He had it going for his whole team.
A check of the record book shows two players accounted for all eight of their teams' runs: Philadelphia A's Bob Johnson against St. Louis on June 12, 1938; and New York Giants' George Kelly against Cincinnati on June 14, 1924.
Both of those efforts were in nine-inning games. Greenwell's
record-setting effort came in an extra-inning game.
Greenwell, who missed nearly 2 1/2 months with a fractured left ring finger, collected more than one-fourth of his season's RBI total, from 25 to 34, and one-third of his season's home-run output, from four to six.
Six runs came in via his home runs, five were scored with two outs and one was clouded in controversy. That was his eighth-inning, two-run double that tied the score at 8. The second run was in dispute. The rally began with Mo Vaughn on first base and two outs. Reliever Norm Charlton walked Tim Naehring, and Lee Tinsley pinch ran.
Greenwell then stroked his RBI double into the Mariners' left-field bullpen bench. Manager Lou Piniella said Sox third-base coach Dave Oliver touched Tinsley as he rounded third.
"You're out when that happens," said Piniella, who pleaded his case. "The third-base coach grabbed the runner. No one (umpires) saw it. I wanted the umpire to ask around."
Piniella pressed it enough to earn his third ejection in the past 11 games.
"I'm getting tired of being run out of games," he added.
Oliver denied touching Tinsley.
"Go and look at the replays," he said.
While Piniella was incensed by the non-call, he didn't want to diminish Greenwell's effort.
"Greenwell had a career night. He had a week's worth of RBI, two weeks'," Piniella said.
Greenwell, sitting on seven RBI in the 10th, said he asked Naehring, " `Wouldn't it be unbelievable if I got up and drove home the winning run?'
"It was a storybook night."
As well as a record-book night.
"There was just a belief in the dugout we were going to win," Greenwell said. "I said when we started the (season's) second half that winning is an attitude. We definitely have that attitude right now and it makes a difference."
The Mariners had the same attitude much of the game. After blowing a 5-0 lead and eventually trailing 6-5 after Greenwell's slam, Seattle came back with three runs in the seventh. Two rode home on Alex Rodriguez's 35th home run.
Rodriguez, who turned 21 on July 27, became the third-youngest player in major-league history to hit 35 homers. Only Mel Ott (20 years, 189 days in 1929) and Frank Robinson (on his 21st birthday in 1956) were younger.
Rodriguez has 86 extra-base hits, one short of Robin Yount's big-league record for a shortstop.