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Seattle (55-51) «1030021007141
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Ichiro lends bat, glove in M's win over Royals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The home run Ichiro Suzuki hit to start the game paled in comparison to his great sliding catch that ended it.

In between, the Seattle right fielder reached base two more times and scored two more runs, leading the Mariners to a hard-fought 7-6 victory over a bunch of Kansas City Royals who could only stand and admire the nine-time All-Star.

"Ichiro is one of the elite players in the game," said Royals bench coach John Gibbons, who managed in place of the absent Trey Hillman for the second consecutive game.

Trailing by a run, the Royals loaded the bases against closer David Aardsma with two outs in the ninth. Pinch-hitter John Buck lifted a high flyball toward right field that looked like it would probably twist into the stands.

But Suzuki came flying in and went into a feet-first slide, skidding toward the wall and ending up in a spot that most people in the stadium, including both dugouts, could not see.

After about two seconds of aching suspense, he raised the ball high above his head while laying on his back and the umpire signaled the game was over.

"Fantastic," Seattle shortstop Jack Wilson said. "The concentration level, running that hard and knowing the wall is there, it's a pretty awesome play."

Suzuki, after taking some pregame ribbing from teammate Ken Griffey Jr. about not hitting many batting practice home runs, slammed Luke Hochevar's second pitch for his 30th leadoff homer, making him third all time. He also singled and reached on a walk and an error as the Mariners snapped a five-game losing streak against Kansas City.

"I'm guessing probably the entire stadium didn't have a good view of that play," he said through an interpreter. "I did catch the ball. But even if I didn't, I probably could have scooped the ball up and put it in my glove and say, 'Hey, I caught it,' and probably nobody would have known about it."

Making such a play is even tougher in an unfamiliar stadium, he said.

"It's a play where I didn't know if I'd be able to get to the ball in time. At the same time, it's not the home stadium for us so I don't know how far the wall is," he said, addressing the media. "But I think it still was easier to do than have to talk to you guys after the game."

The catch enabled Aardsma to earn his 26th save in 28 opportunities.

Russell Branyan's RBI single off Ron Mahay put Seattle on top 7-6 in the seventh. No. 9 hitter Michael Saunders had three hits for the Mariners, who beat Kansas City for the first time since July 13, 2008.

Shawn Kelley (3-1) picked up the win with two innings of one-run relief. The loss went to Jamey Wright (1-4), who surrendered two hits and one run while pitching one inning plus one batter.

Suzuki's major league-leading average stayed at .364 as he went 2 for 5.

"The second pitch of the game was a pretty good fastball under his hands that he turned on," Hochevar said. "He's a good hitter. You've got to make your pitches to him. That's why he's where he's at."

The only Mariner starter without a hit was third baseman Adrian Beltre. Making his first appearance since going on the disabled list on June 29, Beltre was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and had a throwing error that led to an unearned run.

  Mariners: Beltre returns to lineup after five-week hiatus

Billy Butler, Brayan Pena, Alex Gordon and Yuniesky Betancourt all had two hits for the Royals.

Kansas City went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the first on Butler's RBI double and Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly.

The Mariners tied it at 3-all in the third on Jose Lopez's two-run double and Griffey's run-scoring single.

Betancourt, playing against Seattle for the first time since being traded by the Mariners last month, had an RBI triple in the fourth and then hustled home on a sacrifice fly when David DeJesus popped out to second baseman Lopez in foul territory.

Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith went four innings and gave up five runs on six hits. Hochevar gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.

Notes

  • Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu was scheduled to speak at the Negro Leagues Museum on Wednesday morning. The first Japanese-American manager in the majors, Wakamatsu's grandparents were removed to internment camps during World War II.
  • The Royals are hopeful of getting RHP Gil Meche back in the rotation this week. He's been on the DL with a back strain.
  • Seattle announced 10 international signings, from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Panama and Venezuela.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Ichiro Suzuki, who leads off with a homer, makes a sliding catch along the stands for the final out.  (AP)
Ichiro Suzuki, who leads off with a homer, makes a sliding catch along the stands for the final out. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

Y. Betancourt
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Seattle

I. Suzuki
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF5321122 .364
Russell Branyan, 1B4022022 .261
Jose Lopez, 2B5112017 .277
Ken Griffey Jr., DH3011222 .221
Adrian Beltre, 3B5000035 .255
Franklin Gutierrez, CF5021022 .293
Kenji Johjima, C4010114 .257
Jack Wilson, SS5120013 .268
Michael Saunders, LF5230001 .219
Totals417147414  
Batting
2B - Russell Branyan (19, Bale), Jose Lopez (26, Hochevar), Franklin Gutierrez (13, Hochevar), Jack Wilson (21, Hochevar)
HR - Ichiro Suzuki (7, Hochevar)
RBI - Ichiro Suzuki (27), Russell Branyan 2 (58), Jose Lopez 2 (62), Ken Griffey Jr. (34), Franklin Gutierrez (46)
2-OUT RBI - Franklin Gutierrez (18)
CS - Kenji Johjima (2, 2nd base by Tejeda/B. Pena)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
E - Adrian Beltre (9, Throwing)
Seattle Mariners
Ryan Rowland-Smith 4654130 4.22
Shawn Kelley (W,3-1) 2211110 5.16
Miguel Batista (H,9) 1000000 4.35
Mark Lowe (H,18) 1100010 3.16
David Aardsma (S,26) 1200110 1.61
HBP - DeJesus (by Ryan Rowland-Smith)
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Rowland-Smith 75-46, Shawn Kelley 32-20, Miguel Batista 11-7, Mark Lowe 17-9, David Aardsma 25-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Rowland-Smith 6-3, Shawn Kelley 1-4, Mark Lowe 2-0
Batters Faced - Ryan Rowland-Smith 20, Shawn Kelley 9, Miguel Batista 3, Mark Lowe 4, David Aardsma 6
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF3101012 .260
Willie Bloomquist, CF3100112 .262
   a- Mike Jacobs, PH1010000 .219
    Mitch Maier, PR0000000 .227
Billy Butler, 1B4021101 .286
Mark Teahen, RF5010024 .286
Alberto Callaspo, 2B3001102 .295
Brayan Pena, C4010003 .315
    Ryan Freel, PR0000000 .193
    John Buck, C1000003 .226
Miguel Olivo, DH4220000 .242
Alex Gordon, 3B4120022 .203
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4122002 .232
Totals36611536  
a-singled for Bloomquist in the 9th
Batting
2B - Billy Butler (32, Rowland-Smith), Yuniesky Betancourt (11, Kelley)
3B - Yuniesky Betancourt (3, Rowland-Smith)
SF - David DeJesus (2), Alberto Callaspo (3)
RBI - David DeJesus (49), Billy Butler (49), Alberto Callaspo (41), Yuniesky Betancourt 2 (26)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Billy Butler (6, Misplayed grounder), Alex Gordon (4, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
Luke Hochevar 5744281 5.40
John Bale (BS,4)0222100 6.75
Jamey Wright (L,1-4) 1211120 5.26
Ron Mahay 0.1200010 4.25
Robinson Tejeda 2.2100030 5.28
IBB - Griffey by Jamey Wright
HBP - Branyan (by Luke Hochevar)
WP - Luke Hochevar (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 112-72, John Bale 9-5, Jamey Wright 25-14, Ron Mahay 8-7, Robinson Tejeda 30-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 5-3, Jamey Wright 1-0, Robinson Tejeda 1-3
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 26, John Bale 3, Jamey Wright 6, Ron Mahay 3, Robinson Tejeda 8
Game Information
Attendance - 15057
Game Time - 3:37
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Greg Gibson