The major’ leading hitter at .364, Suzuki homered in his final at-bat in Thursday’s series-opening 7-3 loss, becoming the first player in major league history with at least 200 hits in each of his first four seasons.
The Japanese superstar finished 1-for-5, and snapped an 0-for-11 slump since getting hit No. 199 on the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game against Tampa Bay. The 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP hasn’t gone two straight games without a hit since April 28-29 against Baltimore.
Suzuki has a legitimate shot at breaking the major league record of 257 hits set by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns in 1920. The Mariners have 36 games remaining.
Seattle, trying to avoid its first 100-loss season since 1983, dropped its fourth straight and sixth in seven games.
Abraham Nunez hit his second grand slam in two weeks as the Royals rebounded from a 21-6 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday, snapping a three-game slide.
Nunez, who was acquired from Florida for right-hander Rudy Seanez on July 31, is batting .333 (8-for-24) with two homers and six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
The Mariners will give the ball to Gil Meche, who hasn’t lost since May 27 at Cleveland.
After winning just once in his first 12 starts, Meche is 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in his last three outings, including Sunday’s 5-3 victory at Detroit. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, helping Seattle avoid a three-game sweep.
“He’s been outstanding,” said Seattle manager Bob Melvin of Meche, who is 4-5 after winning a career-high 15 games last season. “He tightened up his repertoire a little—he bagged his slider and is going fastball, change, curve.”
The teams are playing a five-game series because of a rainout on Aug. 19. That game will be made up in a doubleheader Saturday.