Anaheim at Seattle

W: J. Saunders (2-1) L: C. Jakubauskas (1-1)
HR: ANA - None   SEA - None

Saunders throws seven stellar innings, slows down sizzling M's wire reports

SEATTLE -- Inspired, Joe Saunders dominated. He dived for ground balls. He did everything -- except stop Ichiro Suzuki.

No shame there. The new Japanese hit king hasn't been stopped 3,085 other times, either.

Ichiro sets Japanese hits record | Guerrero sent to L.A. for exam

Fueled by the memories of teammate Nick Adenhart and by the second anniversary of shootings that left 33 dead on his old campus at Virginia Tech, Saunders stopped Seattle's early season roll by allowing only three hits and a run in seven innings. That and Mike Napoli's go-ahead, two-run single in a five-run sixth sent the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-1 victory against the Mariners on a Thursday night.

"This one is dedicated to Nick and the Hokie Nation," Saunders said proudly after he ended the Mariners' six-game winning streak.

Seattle (7-3) still tied the best 10-game start in team history.

Saunders' silencing of a lineup without 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. for the third time this season dampened Seattle's celebration of Suzuki breaking the record for hits by a Japanese player. It came hours after Adenhart, the 22-year-old rookie who was killed in an automobile accident last week, was laid to rest during a private ceremony in Maryland earlier Thursday.

Saunders' mother represented her son at the ceremony. Angels owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia led a small team contingent across the country for it.

"It was a tough night," said Saunders, sounding relieved it was over.

Suzuki, the eight-time All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder, broke the record of Isao Harimoto with a characteristically sharp single in the fourth, a one-hop smash into right field off Saunders (2-1) for his 3,086th hit. Harimoto, who played 23 seasons in Japan, smiled and flashed a thumbs-up sign from the box seats. Ichiro tipped his batting helmet to the cheering home crowd.

"Mr. Harimoto, in 1995 -- 14 years ago! -- told me, 'The only guy who could break my record is you.' For him to have that vision of the future, for him to say that to a player that has only one year under his belt, I'm amazed," Suzuki said through his interpreter.

"I thought, 'What's this crazy man saying?' "

The ball Suzuki hit was thrown out of play for souvenir keeping. He then came around to score the game's first run on a ground out by Adrian Beltre.

After the inning ended, Harimoto stood and bowed from behind the Mariners dugout to acknowledge a standing ovation.

Suzuki had 1,278 hits in nine seasons with Orix of the Pacific League. He has 1,808 in nine seasons with Seattle. He said last season was the first time he started believing Harimoto wasn't so crazy, after all.

Showing how big a deal Suzuki breaking the record is in Japan, a television network there flew the 68-year-old Harimoto to Seattle so he could see the 35-year-old superstar do it. The game was broadcast live back to Japan, in the late morning there.

"Although I didn't get the record just in Japan, I still want to express my respect for his record and what he did there," Suzuki, 35, said.

Seattle's Chris Jakubauskas, a 29-year-old former Angels fan born in Anaheim, Calif., who spent four seasons wandering around the independent leagues, cruised into the sixth with a 1-0 lead having allowed only three hits in his first major league start. Not bad for a former women's shoes salesman, a job he had a few winters ago to supplement his baseball income of then-$700 a month.

Jakubauskas' glass slipper shattered in the sixth.

A reliever this season until he replaced injured starter Ryan Rowland-Smith on Thursday, he allowed singles to Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu, sandwiched around a flyout. Six throws past Jakubauskas' pitch limit of 75, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu summoned Roy Corcoran from the bullpen.

After third baseman Beltre threw Figgins out at home on Torii Hunter's fielder's choice chopper for the second out, Corcoran walked Kendry Morales, which loaded the bases. Napoli then lined the first of three consecutive sharp singles off Corcoran on a badly misplaced 0-2 pitch, scoring Abreu and Hunter.

That's how Jakubauskas (1-1) ended up the losing pitcher, allowing two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and got the night's other standing ovation from the home crowd.

Jakubauskas called the cheers the highlight of his professional career.

The Angels scored three more times in the inning, on consecutive singles by Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Rivera -- the designated hitter because Vladimir Guerrero was heading back to Los Angeles to get his strained chest muscle examined -- and Maicer Izturis.

Seattle relievers had allowed one run in their previous 13 2/3 innings and had an AL-best 2.16 ERA before Corcoran flopped.


  • Saunders is 5-1 in his career against Seattle.
  • The Mariners put C Kenji Johjima on the 15-day disabled list (strained hamstring). Wakamatsu said Johjima might miss three weeks. Rob Johnson will be the new starter.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Despite the loss, Ichiro Suzuki breaks the Japanese hits mark, collecting his 3,086th career hit.  (AP)
Despite the loss, Ichiro Suzuki breaks the Japanese hits mark, collecting his 3,086th career hit. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Napoli
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0

J. Saunders
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 3

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Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B5020002 .258
Howie Kendrick, 2B5000012 .205
Bobby Abreu, LF5120011 .342
Torii Hunter, CF4110021 .310
Kendry Morales, 1B3100112 .219
Mike Napoli, C4112000 .278
Gary Matthews Jr., RF4111011 .214
Juan Rivera, DH4021000 .296
Maicer Izturis, SS4011002 .273
2B - Torii Hunter (3, Jakubauskas)
RBI - Mike Napoli 2 (5), Gary Matthews Jr. (1), Juan Rivera (3), Maicer Izturis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Napoli 2 (2), Gary Matthews Jr. (1), Juan Rivera (1), Maicer Izturis (1)
SB - Bobby Abreu (3, 2nd base off Lowe/Johnson)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Kendrick-Morales
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (W,2-1) 7311130 2.18
Jose Arredondo 1000000 4.50
Brian Fuentes 1100010 9.00
IBB - J. Lopez by Joe Saunders
HBP - Branyan (by Joe Saunders)
WP - Joe Saunders (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 91-53, Jose Arredondo 7-6, Brian Fuentes 16-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 11-6, Jose Arredondo 1-2
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 25, Jose Arredondo 3, Brian Fuentes 4
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4110000 .333
Endy Chavez, CF4020010 .415
Mike Sweeney, DH4010002 .250
Adrian Beltre, 3B4001002 .184
Jose Lopez, 2B3000101 .194
Russell Branyan, 1B2000000 .258
Wladimir Balentien, LF3000023 .308
Rob Johnson, C3000010 .231
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3000000 .364
RBI - Adrian Beltre (5)
Team LOB - 4
E - Adrian Beltre (2, Misplayed grounder)
Seattle Mariners
Chris Jakubauskas (L,1-1) 5.1522030 3.86
Roy Corcoran (BS,1) 0.1333100 6.75
Mark Lowe 1.1200030 0.00
Sean White 2000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Jakubauskas 81-60, Roy Corcoran 13-8, Mark Lowe 31-21, Sean White 30-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Jakubauskas 6-7, Roy Corcoran 1-0, Mark Lowe 1-0, Sean White 6-1
Batters Faced - Chris Jakubauskas 21, Roy Corcoran 5, Mark Lowe 6, Sean White 7
Game Information
Attendance - 18528
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Wally Bell