Mariners 6, Blue Jays 2
SEATTLE (AP)—Ichiro Suzuki struggled in April, then matched a record held by Pete Rose with a spectacular May.
He became the first player since Pete Rose to have two 50-plus hit months in his career. He had 51 in August of 2001. Rose had 52 in July of 1973 and 51 in September of 1979.
“He’s got a knack. He knows how to adjust,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said of his star right fielder. “Good hitters do that and he’s certainly made adjustments from April to May.”
Suzuki finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and closed out the month 50-for-125 (.400), bringing his average up to .335 from .255 in April.
“I don’t know why,” Suzuki said when asked why he hits well in May, “but it’s better to have more hits in May than in March.”
Randy Winn had a single, a triple and drove in three runs for Seattle, which opened a 12-game homestand with a win after losing three of the last four games of its road trip.
“As a group, we had struggles across the board,” Melvin said. “But right now we’re seeing guys as a group swing the bat better. It’s good to see.”
Rich Aurilia had two hits and two runs scored to help support Jamie Moyer (4-2), who won his third straight start and lowered his ERA to 4.06 after opening the season with a 1-2 record and a 5.29 ERA through his first eight starts.
“It’s a battle on every pitch,” said Vernon Wells, who homered off Moyer. “He’s trying to get you to go out of the strike zone. You see the ball out of his hand, you see everything he’s throwing but it’s moving and diving. You have to be careful of what you swing at.”
Moyer allowed seven hits and two runs over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
“We hit some balls hard, but what he didn’t do was walk many people,” Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. “When he gave up home runs there wasn’t anybody one base.”
Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth.
Toronto starter Pat Hentgen (2-4) was sharp early, striking out four over the first two innings, but then got roughed up. He lasted five innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs. He walked three and struck out a season-high six.
Seattle scored twice in the third. Aurilia led off with a single, and moved to second on Dan Wilson’s sacrifice. Suzuki followed with an RBI single up the middle and scored on Winn’s triple into the right-field corner.
Toronto cut it to 2-1 in the fourth when Wells hit a 417-foot homer to left-center. It was his sixth home run of the season.
“(Moyer) broke my bat on the first at-bat. He came inside,” Wells said. “In the second at-bat, I was keeping that in mind and just tried to get the head out there. That time I did.”
Seattle made it 4-1 in the bottom half. With one out, John Olerud doubled and then scored on Aurilia’s single. Wilson walked, and with two outs Winn hit an RBI single.
Frank Menechino hit his first home run of the season in the sixth to trim Seattle’s lead to 4-2. It was the AL-leading 16th homer allowed by Moyer.
Seattle added two runs on Winn’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Edgar Martinez in the eighth.
“It was a complete win,” Aurilia said. “We had a lot of contributions from a lot of players. We had some timely hitting, good pitching, and soliddefense. We need to carry this into the dog days of summer.”
: Suzuki had 47 hits in May of 2001. … Toronto has lost its last six road games and 11 of its last 13 away from home. … Hentgen made the 300th start of his career. It was Hentgen’s first start at Safeco Field. He went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in the Kingdome. … Wells’ stolen base in the sixth inning was Toronto’s AL-worst 13th of the season. … The Mariners streak of homering in five straight games ended. It was their longest stretch since hitting a home run in eight straight games May 25-June 3, 2003. … The last time Ichiro didn’t reach base was April 28, a streak of 29 games. … In day games thisyear, Moyer is 0-2 with an 8.54 ERA and opponents have hit .339 against him.