Suzuki climbed the right-field fence in the seventh inning Monday night to rob Garret Anderson of a second home run.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better catch,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That was incredible. You can tell he practices that.”
The Safeco Field crowd of 24,184 didn’t have much to cheer about as the Mariners lost their third in a row, but they chanted “Ichiro! Ichiro!” in the seventh after the four-time Gold Glove winner went high up on the fence and caught Anderson’s drive.
The fans gave Suzuki a standing ovation after the inning, and Seattle pitcher Julio Mateo gave him a high-five when he got back to the dugout.
“When I went up on the wall, the ball was right there,” Suzuki said through a translator. “It wasn’t a big play. It looked like a basketball to me. It was just right there.”
Anderson said he’s seen enough of Suzuki that he’s not stunned anymore.
“I know he’s an athletic guy,” Anderson said. “It didn’t surprise me at all.”
Washburn would have liked another homer to add to the Angels’ score, but he enjoyed watching Suzuki’s catch.
“The guy’s one of the most exciting players to ever play the game,” he said. “He’s fun to watch. I hate pitching against him, but I love watching him play.”
Making his sixth start of the season, Washburn (2-0) walked three and struck out five in 7 2-3 innings to lower his ERA to 2.72. He has allowed only one run in his last two starts, spanning 15 1-3 innings.
After four no-decisions, Washburn has won his last two outings.
The 30-year-old Washburn thinks he’s a better pitcher now than ever. He won a career-high 18 games in 2002, when the Angels won the World Series.
“I feel real good on the mound,” he said. “My fastball definitely has lost a little velocity over the years, but I’ve learned how to pitch a lot more. I’ve got that split-finger now that’s a real big weapon for me and my changeup just keeps getting better. And I can throw my slider to both sides of the plate and I’ve got a sinker to go along with the four-seamer I used to always throw.”
The Mariners are 4-8 at Safeco this season after losing 99 games overall in 2004.
Finley, mired in a 4-for-38 slump and 0-for-14 coming into the game, gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the fourth with his fifth homer of the season. It came off Ryan Franklin (1-4) after Anderson walked.
Scioscia said he hopes Finley’s homer was a sign of good things to come for him.
“We need that consistency, especially from someone hitting behind Garret,” Scioscia said. “We need somebody there who is productive and he will get to that. Tonight is an indication there are some good things ahead.”
“I hit it pretty good,” Anderson said.
Asked if he thought Suzuki had a chance to catch that one, Anderson smiled and replied emphatically, “No, no.”
Franklin lost his fourth straight start. In five innings, he allowed five runs, five hits and five walks. Franklin, who gave up 33 homers last season when he had a 4-16 record, has given up six this season.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said Franklin suddenly lost it after holding the Angels hitless in the first three innings.
“All of a sudden, he was up and in the middle of the plate,” Hargrove said. “It happened in a real hurry.”
The Mariners are 1-7 against left-handed starters, tying them with Cleveland for the worst record in the majors. … The Mariners have been outhomered 28-16. … Angels 2B Adam Kennedy made his 2005 debut. He was activated Sunday from the 15-day disabled list after playing six minor league rehabilitation games. He had surgery Oct. 15 on his right knee. Kennedy went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and made an error. … Anderson has a career batting average of .368 (14-for-38) with three homers against Franklin. Finley faced Franklin for the first time. … Washburn is 8-7 against the Mariners. Franklin 5-6 against the Angels. … The Angels got their third shutout of the season, while the Mariners were blanked for the second time. … The Angels’ bullpen has stranded 29 of 30 inherited runners this season to lead the majors.