One game after setting a record for consecutive 200-hit seasons, Suzuki tries to help the Mariners open a six-game homestand on a positive note when they face the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
The Mariners (74-70) are 11 games behind Boston for the wild card and well back of AL West-leading Los Angeles with 18 games remaining.
With Seattle having little hope of making the postseason, Suzuki’s chase of another prestigious hits record had been the main story surrounding the team.
The right fielder became the first player to reach 200 hits in nine consecutive seasons Sunday by beating out an infield single during a 5-0 win at Texas. He had been tied with Hall of Famer Willie Keeler, who had eight straight 200-hit seasons from 1894-1901.
“When I break a record, I never feel satisfaction,” Suzuki told the team’s official Web site. “I strongly feel expectation from Japan and my records are things that I feel Japan (believes) they must have.
“I always want to feel satisfaction, but when I accomplish a record, I only feel relief.”
Suzuki also holds the record for hits in a season, piling up 262 in 2004 to eclipse George Sisler’s mark of 257 set in 1920.
“I was a witness to both,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said of Suzuki’s records. “I was coaching with the Rangers when he broke the (single-season) hit record. That was something. But to break a record that was set in 1901 is even bigger in my book.
“He’s a special player, he’s got so many weapons. He can use the whole field. He can hit a home run now and then. He’s just a special player.”
Suzuki, the AL batting champion in 2001 and ’04, is second in the league with a .353 average, overcoming his first trip to the disabled list in April and a left calf strain that kept him out of eight games last month.
He has struggled against the White Sox this season, however, hitting .222 with one RBI as the clubs have split six meetings.
The Mariners will give the ball to Ian Snell(notes) (4-2, 5.13 ERA), who had his four-game winning streak halted with a 6-3 loss at Los Angeles on Wednesday. The right-hander, who allowed four runs with five walks in 5 1-3 innings, had won four consecutive starts with a 2.49 ERA.
He has gone 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in two starts against the White Sox, last facing them June 17, 2008, while with Pittsburgh.
Chicago (71-73) is looking to rebound from Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to the Angels. The White Sox have alternated losses and wins over the last seven games.
The right-hander pitched at least six innings in his last four starts and posted a 2.25 ERA in the previous two - both White Sox wins.
A member of the Mariners from 1999-2004, Garcia has gone 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA in six starts against his former club. He hasn’t faced Seattle since September 2006.