SEATTLE (AP) -- Pat Gillick has to pinch himself every once in a while to make sure he's awake.
"This is one of those magical-type seasons," the general manager of the Seattle Mariners said. "I've been at this end of the game since '63 and they just don't come along that often."
Two days after becoming the first team to qualify for the postseason, the Mariners got their 100th victory in their 140th game Wednesday night.
Only the 1906 Chicago Cubs (132 games), the '02 Pittsburgh Pirates (134), the '09 Pirates (136), the '04 New York Giants (137), the '98 New York Yankees (138) and the '07 Cubs (139) got to 100 wins faster.
The Mariners are zeroing in on the AL West title after clinching at least a wild card playoff spot Monday.
"It's been a wild ride since the very first pitch of the season with no letup," said right-hander Paul Abbott. "When we lose, nobody likes it."
The Mariners have a chance to break the 1906 Cubs' modern record of 116 wins. The American League victory mark is 114, by the 1998 Yankees.
Manager Lou Piniella would like to win 117 games, too, but he's not going to sacrifice his team's chances in the playoffs just to replace the '06 Cubs and '98 Yankees in the record books.
"If it happens, it happens," he said.
After the Mariners clinch their division, Piniella plans on resting his regulars so they'll be fresh for the postseason. Wednesday night's 12-6 win over Tampa Bay at Safeco Field reduced the Mariners' magic number of clinching the AL West to six.
Piniella has a point. The '06 Cubs won the National League by 20 games, but then lost the World Series to the Chicago White Sox.
The Mariners look tired to Piniella after going 20-9 in August, a month when they made three road trips to the East. In Piniella's opinion, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Boone and Mark McLemore need some time off.
"I've seen the wear and tear of the long summer," Piniella said.
Coming out of spring training in Peoria, Ariz., at the end of April, the Mariners were certain they had the pitching and defense to be competitive, but they didn't know about their offense after losing All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez as a free agent to the Texas Rangers.
They fooled themselves.
Led by Boone, Suzuki and McLemore, the Mariners buried the A's, Anaheim and Texas early, going 40-12 in the first two months of the season.
John Olerud, who left the New York Mets to come back to Seattle last season, was stunned. The A's edged the Mariners by a half game in the AL West last season.
"I felt like it was going to come down to us and them, and it was going to be a long, hard struggle," he said.
After Wednesday night's game, Suzuki was leading the American League with a .349 batting average and the majors with 212 hits. Boone had career highs of 33 homers and 122 RBIs, and the versatile McLemore was hitting .275 with 35 stolen bases while playing six different positions.
Among the starting pitchers, left-hander Jamie Moyer had a 16-5 record, Freddy Garcia was 15-5, Abbott was 14-3, and Aaron Sele 13-5.
In the bullpen, left-hander Arthur Rhodes was 8-0 with a team-best 1.37 ERA, while Kazuhiro Sasaki had a team-record 41 saves and Jeff Nelson was 4-2 with a 2.84 ERA.
The Mariners had lost only five series all season, all at home, and hadn't lost more than two games in a row.
In the clubhouse, there is harmony, with the players pulling hard for each other.
Boone had only strong words of praise for Suzuki, probably his biggest rival for the AL MVP Award this season.
"This guy's a real deal," Boone said. "He's a big-time player."
If the AL races hold up, the Mariners will face Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs, while the defending World Series champion Yankees and Oakland will play in the other series.
Seattle is 5-2 against the Indians, 6-3 against the Yankees and 8-5 with six left to play against the A's this season.
"We expect to have some rings on our fingers by opening day next year," Abbott said.
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