Leading the hot-hitting Mariners (22-22), Suzuki looks to extend an 18-game hitting streak and continue his torrid play against the Royals (19-30) when the teams meet in the middle game of their weekend series on Saturday night.
Suzuki homered and Seattle posted 18 hits for the second straight game in a 10-2 win on Friday night. The Mariners are 22-12 in Kansas City since 2000, averaging 7.2 runs per game. Seattle has scored at least 10 runs 10 times during that stretch, including three times in its last four games there.
“The thing we’re doing is getting good approaches at the plate from everybody,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “We’ve been getting deeper into counts and that’s something we’ve been preaching to these guys all year long.”
Suzuki extended his hitting streak Friday with the 24th leadoff home run of his career, tying him with Lou Brock for 15th all-time. He is batting .443 (35-for-79) during his streak, which he seems to have a good chance of extending against a team he has been highly successful against.
Suzuki has hit safely in 19 straight games against Kansas City, batting .474 (37-for-78) in that span. He’s hitting .357 (81-for-227) in 55 career games against the Royals.
Kansas City, meanwhile, has allowed 27 runs and 41 hits in its last three games.
Brian Bannister (0-2, 4.39 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals. He suffered a loss to the Mariners on April 29, allowing four runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-1 defeat.
The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits in five innings, but did not factor in Kansas City’s 10-5 win over Colorado on Sunday.
Seattle will counter with Cha Seung Baek (1-2, 5.50 ERA), who has lost his last two starts. The right-hander gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings as the Mariners lost 5-2 to Cleveland on Monday night.
Baek matched up with Bannister earlier this season, allowing one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings but also did not factor in the decision. His only other appearance against the Royals was in relief on Aug. 28, 2004, pitching two scoreless innings to earn a win.
Baek may not face Royals left fielder Emil Brown, who has missed two straight games with back spasms.
“We are waiting to see if he can be available (Saturday) or Sunday,” Kansas City manager Buddy Bell told the team’s Web site.
After batting a career-high .287 last year, Brown is hitting just .219 this season.