Blue Jays 4, Mariners 2

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TORONTO (AP)—Ichiro Suzuki might not get a chance to break the record for most hits in a season if other teams follow Toronto’s lead.

The Blue Jays intentionally walked Suzuki in the seventh and escaped a bases-loaded jam, then Frank Menechino hit a tiebreaking homer in the home half to help Toronto beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Wednesday night.

Suzuki went 2-for-3 and now has 214 hits. He has 30 games left to break George Sisler’s mark of 257 hits set in 1920 with the St. Louis Browns.

He may be stuck in a Catch-22—to have a chance at the record, he needs to stay hot, but if he keeps hitting like he did in August (.463 batting average, 56 hits), teams may choose to intentionally walk him.

“Of course you want to hit, but it’s not like you’re going to tell them to throw to me. It’s a part of the game,” Suzuki said through a translator.

After Toronto starter David Bush walked Miguel Olivo with two outs in the seventh and Jose Lopez singled, Bush intentionally walked Suzuki. Bush got out of the jam by forcing Randy Winn to pop out.

“It would almost be foolish at that point to let one of the best hitters in the game beat us in a clutch situation,” said Bush, who was far more comfortable facing Winn.

“I think anybody would be with the way Ichiro is swinging the bat,” Bush added. “He’s got 214 hits. I threw some pretty good pitches to him earlier in the game and he got base hits on them.”

Bret Boone hit a two-run homer for the Mariners, who had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped.

Suzuki has been intentionally walked 12 times this season.

“Hopefully, we don’t see too much of that kind of stuff down the stretch,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s the kind of stuff they do to Barry Bonds.”

Menechino homered off Ron Villone (5-5) to lead off the seventh. After Vernon Wells walked and advanced to third on Villone’s errant pickoff attempt, Carlos Delgado hit an RBI single to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.

Bush (3-3) allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, while striking out six and walking three. The rookie right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last six starts, and in nine of 11 outings overall.

“He’s pitched a lot better than what his record shows,” Delgado said. “He did what we ask for in every starter, he kept us in the game.”

Justin Speier pitched the ninth inning for his second save in five chances.

Bush pitched five scoreless innings before Suzuki led off the sixth with a single. One batter later, Boone homered off the facing of the second deck in right field to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

Delgado singled in the bottom half before Alex Rios chased Seattle starter Gil Meche with an RBI triple. Eric Hinske followed with a sacrifice fly off Villone to tie it a 2.

Notes

Toronto CF Vernon Wells is hitting .188 with runners in scoring position. … The Mariners claimed right-hander Masao Kida off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kida went 3-1 with a 5.97 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Las Vegas after missing the beginning of the season while recovering from back surgery.

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