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The Grand Slam: Ichiro catch robs Mariners, Papelbon gets 300th save

David Brown
Big League Stew

A couple of older gentlemen who play for the New York Yankees would like you to know: They've still got it.

Ichiro Suzuki made a great jumping catch to rob his old team, and Derek Jeter got a key double and scored the go-ahead run on Jacoby Ellsbury's eighth-inning single Tuesday night in a 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Suzuki, 40, took extra bases away from Kyle Seager with an impressive tumbling catch on the warning track near the "380" sign in right-center in the second inning. He also tipped his cap to the fans — or maybe he was just tugging the bill and securing it to his head — after getting to his feet. Of course, Ichiro spent the first 1,844 games of his career with the M's, and he remains quite popular in Seattle.

Jeter isn't 40 yet (almost!) but he's been hitting like an old man, so he no doubt was pleased to line a ground-rule double into the gap in left center against Hisashi Iwakuma, putting himself in position to be the tie-breaking run in the eighth. Jeter actually missed the first-base bag when he rounded it the first time — sometimes you forget stuff when you get older — so he went back to re-touch it. Sometimes you forget stuff when you get older. (Oh, did I say that already?)

Ellsbury broke the tie with an RBI single against lefty Charlie Furbush. He also extended his hitting streak to 14.

[ Check for your team's results on Yahoo's MLB scoreboard ]

PAPELBON — 300!:

With a 26-36 record, the Philadelphia Phillies likely are going nowhere in the pennant race, so the season has come down to team pride, individual achievement and making themselves as attractive as possible for the trading season. Enter closer Jonathan Papelbon, who secured the 300th save of his career in a 2-1 victory against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

Of course, there's still some adjusting to be done, because Papelbon loaded the bases before getting out of the jam, but it's all about the save!

"I didn't think it was going to come for a while, there," Papelbon said. "But I get a lot of support at home, and I think that's what makes the biggest difference for me."

Though his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up, Papelbon has posted a 1.48 ERA in 24 1/3 innings, and his on-base plus slugging against is .504, one of the lowest rates of his career. And he's only blown one save in 15 chances this season. Wouldn't he look good in a contender's bullpen?



The Washington Nationals are making their move. They beat the San Francisco Giants again at AT&T Park, topping the team with the league's best record 2-1 behind right-hander Doug Fister. The Nats put their runs on the board in the fifth inning against left-hander Madison Bumgarner, with Jayson Werth driving in one. Werth also threw out a runner — OK, it was Pablo Sandoval — at the plate in the sixth. The Nats, who stopped the Giants' five-game winning streak in the series opener Monday, have won three straight and nine of 11. 

DODGERS CREEP CLOSER:  Josh Beckett continues to turn back the clock for the Los Angeles Dodgers, even after he's stuck watching it for two hours because of a rain delay. No matter that the first pitch was later than hoped, Beckett allowed two hits over six shutout innings in a 6-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds.

''Sitting around today was tough,'' the 34-year-old Beckett said. ''I'm not 23 anymore. I was ready to go at 7:10. I spent a lot of time in the weight room trying to stay loose. I felt fine.''

Beckett has pitched a no-hitter this season and lowered his ERA to 2.35 with 70 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers moved to within 7 1/2 games of first place in the NL West.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!


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