SOCK-IT-TO-ME: When Giants third baseman Matt Williams changed his socks, it changed his life.

Williams, who took a 15-game hitting streak into last night's play, decided to "show lots of black" in his socks and hiked his pants up nearly to his knees. Since then, the Giants went 14-1 and won nine in a row.


"They won't let me change my socks back until we lose," Williams said. "Even then, I might not do it." Through Monday, Williams was batting .317 with an NL-leading 56 RBI. During his streak, he had gone 23 for 48 with five home runs and 18 RBI.

BULLDOG MARINER: Left-hander Dave Fleming of Georgia, who saved the College World Series championship game against Oklahoma State, signed with Seattle. The Mariners' No. 3 draft choice, Fleming, 20, will start out at Class A San Bernardino.

The Mariners optioned IF Dave Cochrane (.150) to Class AAA and activated 1B Pete O'Brien, recovered from a broken right thumb. O'Brien was batting only .174 before getting hurt on a fielding play May 3. Seattle also traded IF Mario Diaz to the New York Mets for LHP Brian Givens; the two will switch AAA teams.

HURTING: Brewers 2B Paul Molitor will have the fractured knuckle on his left index finger surgically repaired today; could miss at least six weeks and maybe eight. . . . Astros placed IF Ken Oberkfell on 15-day DL, strained muscle in his left rib cage; recalled IF Dave Rohde.