Mariners 5, Mets 0
SEATTLE (AP)—After a rare slump, Ichiro Suzuki has pushed his batting average back over .300. And that’s what he likes to see.
Suzuki, a two-time batting champion who set the single-season record for hits last year, had been slumping for the past month. His average finally dipped below .300 on June 11 for the first time since May 12 of last season. But he has had consecutive multihit games for the first time since May 11-13 and is now batting .301.
“When you look at the scoreboard at the first number and it’s a 3 instead of a 2,” Suzuki said through a translator, “it makes you feel better as a hitter.”
Facing Japanese countryman Kazuhisa Ishii for the first time in a regular-season major league game, Suzuki connected in the second inning. He added a run-scoring single in the sixth, giving him a season-high four RBIs, and finished with three hits.
“That was a big three-run home run early in the game to give us some breathing room. His last two or three games Ichiro has swung the bat better. And Jamie was just outstanding,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said.
The 42-year-old Moyer (6-2) allowed six hits in 7 2-3 innings for his 198th career win. He is 5-1 lifetime against the Mets. His only loss against them came 17 years ago, on Aug. 2, 1988, with the Chicago Cubs.
Suzuki and Ishii did not face each other often in Japan because they played in different leagues. Suzuki had one career hit in five at-bats against Ishii, with a walk and a hit by pitch. In an exhibition game three years ago, Suzuki was 2-for-2 with a walk when Ishii pitched for the Dodgers.
“Since I did not face him too much I didn’t have a lot of information on him,” Suzuki said. “I just made the adjustments as the game went on.”
Moyer went through a tough time in early May when he failed to pitch past the fourth inning in three straight games. He had a 1-2 record and a 7.88 ERA in May.
“If I would compare it,” Moyer said, “I would say I was not getting ahead in the count quite as often as I am now.”
He has allowed just one run in his last 13 2-3 innings.
“When he’s changing speeds like that and moves his ball in and out,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said, “he makes a lot of teams look bad.”
Nelson finished the six-hitter for his first save, Seattle’s fourth shutout of the season. Struggling mightily to score runs, the last-place Mets (33-34) lost for the seventh time in nine games and were blanked for the sixth time this year. They also made two key errors.
Jose Lopez, just called up from the minors, had two hits, including an RBI double in the fifth.
Ishii (1-6) got in trouble in the second when he hit Mike Morse with an 0-2 pitch. Pat Borders sent Morse to third with a two-out double and Suzuki homered into the right-field corner, one row into the seats. It was his second home run in three games and fifth this season.
Moyer earned just his second win since April 24. He had trouble in the first inning, giving up successive hits to Jose Reyes and David Wright. But Carlos Beltran flied out, Reyes was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt and Mike Piazza grounded out.
Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre sat out with a left hamstring injury. Last season with the Dodgers, Beltre hit .435 with two home runs and five RBIs against the Mets. He could play Sunday. Lopez started at 3B. … The Mets fell to 11-19 on the road. They have lost five of six away from home. … Brian Daubach was hit in the right knee by Nelson’s pitch in the ninth but should be available to play Saturday.