Mariners 9, Royals 7, 1st game; Mariners 5, Royals 3, 12 innings, 2nd game
SEATTLE (AP)—Ichiro Suzuki is hitting at a record-breaking pace.
Suzuki got his 50th hit of August—the third time this season he’s had that many hits in a month—and scored on Randy Winn’s two-run homer in the 12th inning to help the Seattle Mariners complete a doubleheader sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night with a 5-3 victory. Seattle won the first game 9-7.
The Mariners said Suzuki is the first player in major league history with three 50-hit months in one season. The Elias Sports Bureau was still looking into the feat as of late Saturday night.
“Just how he gets them is amazing to me,” teammate Bret Boone said. “Today, he had four infield hits, and then he’ll hit a bullet in the gap and he hits a home run every once in a while, so he’s got too many different ways of getting them. That’s why he gets so many hits. His speed, his technique out of the box is such a weapon.”
After getting off to a relatively slow start, Suzuki racked up 50 hits in July and 51 in May. He has 206 hits so far, and with 33 games to play is within striking distance of George Sisler’s single-season record of 257. He also leads the majors with 64 multiple-hit games.
“If you can, in one at-bat, get three hits, then I might be thinking about that,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “It’s just too far ahead. I’m not thinking about that at all.”
Suzuki is batting .446 in August—50-for-112. Since the All-Star game on July 13, he has hit safely 87 times in 191 at-bats for a .455 average.
“If he puts the ball in play and on the ground, I give him a 50 percent chance of getting a hit,” Boone said. “With the rest of us, it’s probably more like 20 percent.”
Cha Seung Baek, called him up from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day, pitched two shutout innings in the nightcap for his first win, giving up a single and striking out two. Earlier this month Baek threw one scoreless inning.
“They weren’t even getting too good of swings off of him,” manager Bob Melvin said. “That shows you the composure of this kid. that’s something we saw in spring training that we really liked, his composure.”
Winn’s homer came off Matt Kinney (0-1).
“I was just putting the bat on the ball, trying to move Ichiro into scoring position,” Winn said. “I wasn’t really thinking about driving the ball right there, but it got up in the air and it got out.”
It was the third straight game the Royals blew an early lead against the Mariners. Seattle won the opener 9-7 after falling behind 4-0.
“It’s one of those days … unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of them,” said Jeremy Affeldt, who gave up the tying run in the ninth inning of the second game. “It’s frustrating because it doesn’t seem like we are getting any of the breaks right now.”
The Royals jumped on Seattle starter Bobby Madritsch in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. David DeJesus hit a leadoff single and scored on Desi Relaford’s double. Joe Randa followed with an RBI single to start the game. Randa scored on a passed ball.
But Madritsch, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Baek held Kansas City scoreless after that. Madritsch pitched eight innings, and struck out a career-high eight.
The Mariners tied it at 3 in the ninth after Boone led off with a double off Affeldt. After Willie Bloomquist struck out trying to bunt, Cabrera doubled to right, driving in Boone.
In the first game, starter Clint Nageotte left after three innings with spasms in the lower right side of his back, but Matt Thornton (1-0) came in and struck out five in three hitless innings for his first major league win.
J.J. Putz worked the ninth for his fifth save, allowing a solo homer to Relaford.
“It’s a great feeling to get that last out and get that ball,” Thornton said. “J.J. brought it in—he finished the game off, closed it out, and he’s one of my best friends.”
Nageotte gave up four runs and five hits. After the game, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Randa’s two-run homer off Nageotte put the Royals ahead in the first, and Angel Berroa hit a two-run single in the second, the first RBIs for the AL Rookie of the Year since he was recalled from Double-A Wichita last Monday.
But Seattle scored twice in the third on Jose Lopez’s run-scoring double and Suzuki’s RBI grounder, then got Jacobsen’s solo homer in the fourth.
Martinez tied it with a run-scoring infield single in the fifth. Winn hit an RBI grounder in the sixth to make it 7-4, but Matt Stairs cut the gap with a two-run double in the seventh.
Berroa’s error on Hiram Bocachica’s grounder in the seventh allowed Boone to score. Winn added an RBI double in the eighth.
May allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
The last doubleheader at Seattle took place Aug. 30, 1986, a split against the New York Yankees at the Kingdome. … Jacobsen has nine homers, the most by a Mariners rookie since Jose Cruz Jr. had 12 in 1997.