The catcher looks to continue his strong start to the new season Thursday night while helping the A’s cap a four-game series with a third win in a row over the Seattle Mariners.
Suzuki entered 2010 with six career walkoff hits in two-plus seasons with Oakland (2-1). He added to his total Wednesday, connecting on a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth to score Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes) from first and clinch a 6-5 win over Seattle (1-2).
Suzuki’s RBI double in the seventh tied the game at 5, setting up his clutch hit.
“We have 19 games against these guys,” said Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley(notes), who appeared to have Suzuki’s ninth-inning drive skim off the top of his glove before caroming off the wall to allow the winning run. “It will be like this every night. In that situation, Kurt is the last guy you want to see. He’s swinging the bat well and carrying the team on his back.”
Suzuki, who had career highs of 15 homers and 88 RBIs in 2009, is 4 for 8 with a homer and three RBIs in the last two games - both wins - after going 0 for 3 with two errors in a season-opening 5-3 loss Monday.
He is hitting .303 with eight RBIs in his last nine games with the Mariners.
The left-hander won four of his final five starts last year with a 2.20 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 28 2-3 innings.
Anderson, though, struggled in spring training, going 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA in five starts. Still, manager Bob Geren feels playing games that count should lead to better results.
“I think the environment changes things,” Geren told the team’s official Web site. “When you get to the end of Spring Training, it can be a bit redundant pitching in games that don’t matter.”
Anderson went 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts against Seattle last year, winning both games at home.
The right-hander concluded 2009 in strong fashion, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings against Anderson in a 4-2 home win.
Fister wasn’t nearly as effective in four road starts, posting an 0-2 record and a 4.76 ERA. He also stumbled through spring training with an 0-3 mark and 6.94 ERA in five appearances. Some of those struggles could be attributed to a forearm injury sustained March 19 when he was hit by a line drive.
Ichiro Suzuki(notes), who finished second in the AL with a .352 batting average in 2009, has a hit in each of the first three games, extending his hitting streak against Oakland to 23. The right fielder owns a .374 average during that run, and is 6 for 9 against Anderson.