And the singles kept coming and coming, except for a three-run homer by Ibanez, as the Mariners ended a six-game losing streak with a 14-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
“We had a shark mentality,” Ibanez said.
The Mariners set a season high for runs, scoring one more than they did combined during the losing streak. Of their 18 hits, 17 were singles—and many of those were grounders through the infield.
Ibanez put the Mariners ahead to stay with an RBI single in the first, and his eighth homer of the season came in a six-run third that made it 7-0.
“Raul’s three-run homer gave us a lift and from there we pecked away and found some holes,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “So much of this game is confidence. We haven’t had a lot of confidence-building the last six, seven days.”
During the game, the Rangers traded struggling designated hitter Phil Nevin to the Chicago Cubs for utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. Nevin was hitting .216 with nine homers and 31 RBIs, with only two hits (both home runs) his last 32 at-bats.
“I completely look forward to being in Chicago, but right now, saying goodbye to these guys will be tough,” Nevin said after the game in front of his locker that had already been cleaned out. “They honestly helped me out quite a bit.”
The Cubs were desperately seeking a bopper to help replace injured slugger Derrek Lee. Nevin, who has been splitting time with rookie Jason Botts, was primarily a first baseman for San Diego before being traded to Texas for pitcher Chan Ho Park last July.
Seattle had a 7-0 lead and 11 hits in 2 2-3 innings against rookie left-hander John Koronka (4-3).
“Command was an issue for him,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He left a lot of balls over the plate. And he paid the price for it.”
Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-5—his major league-best 25th multihit game—with a walk and scored four times while playing in his team-record 294th consecutive game for the Mariners, who finished 1-5 on their road trip. Edgar Martinez played in 293 straight from 1994-96.
Gary Matthews Jr. went 3-for-4, including his first career grand slam—and the second in less than 24 hours for the Rangers.
Felix Hernandez (4-6) faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings, even after taking a ball off his right biceps to start the third. Seattle’s 20-year-old right-hander benefited from a pair of double plays before running into trouble in the fifth that set up Matthews’ 433-foot shot into the second deck of seats in right field.
Hernandez allowed seven hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
“I was uncomfortable after I got hit in the arm, but I tried to stay relaxed and make my pitches,” Hernandez said. “The offense and defense really supported me.”
Suzuki led off the game with a single, moved to third on Adrian Beltre’s hit and scored the first run on the hit by Ibanez, who Tuesday night was ejected in the first inning for arguing a check-swing third strike.
“One of the great things about this game is if things don’t go right, there’s always tomorrow,” Ibanez said.
Suzuki’s AL-high 18th infield hit got Seattle going in the third. Jose Lopez had an RBI single before Ibanez homered, then Mike Morse and Yuniesky Betancourt had consecutive groundball hits through the left side for RBIs. Morse and Betancourt also drove in runs in the eighth.
Seattle had two on with two outs in the sixth when Richie Sexson hit a grounder toward All-Star shortstop Michael Young. The ball took a bad hop just as it was about to go into Young’s glove, and went into left for a two-run single.
“That swung the momentum back in our favor,” Hargrove said.
Adrian Beltre added a two-run single in the seventh before Lopez had a sacrifice fly.
Brad Wilkerson hit a grand slam Tuesday night for the Rangers in a 6-4 victory. Texas has five grand slams this season—all at home, one short of a team record. … Texas is 15-16 at home. … Seattle finished 6-10 during its 16-day stretch without a break. The Mariners are off Thursday before a seven-game homestand.