Ibanez has grand slam, RBI double for Seattle in 8-7 victory over Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Of any year, Raul Ibanez could hardly have expected to reach 100 RBIs this season. Not with the way his tender shoulder limited him early. Or the thigh injury that also affected his first-half numbers.
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “No.”
Ibanez hit a grand slam and doubled in a run to give him 100 RBIs for the second straight year, helping Jeff Weaver end a four-start winless stretch and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 8-7 Tuesday night.
“Everybody goes through stretches,” Ibanez said. “It’s not something I really thought about. There are some things, adversity I had to overcome. I’m proud of that, because it was tough there for a while.”
Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the first of three doubles that Seattle hit to start the game off Chad Gaudin. Suzuki also drove in two runs in the Mariners’ seventh victory in eight tries this year at the Oakland Coliseum.
Ibanez’s 19th homer and second slam of the year highlighted Seattle’s five-run fourth, which also featured Suzuki’s bases-loaded walk to force in a run. All five runs were unearned after Gaudin bobbled the ball for an error trying to field a bunt.
“There was a point I never thought he had a chance for 100,” Mariners manager John McLaren said of Ibanez. “But he’s a quality player and even more of a quality person.”
Weaver (7-12) won for the first time since Aug. 23 at Texas and improved his road record to 4-7 this year. Weaver allowed five hits and three runs, two earned, struck out three and walked one in seven innings before giving way to Eric O’Flaherty in the eighth.
O’Flaherty loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter and two walks, then was replaced by Sean Green. He immediately gave up Mark Ellis’ bases-clearing triple that made it 8-6. Jack Hannahan followed with his second RBI double of the night.
Brandon Morrow relieved and got pinch-hitter Mike Piazza to fly out to center. George Sherrill struck out the side in the ninth for his second save in six chances, filling in because closer J.J. Putz is nursing tightness in his triceps muscle.
“It got too close for comfort, I’ll tell you that much,” McLaren said. “I’m still fired up.”
Dan Johnson hit his 18th home run leading off the seventh for Oakland, which until then had managed only Daric Barton’s RBI double in the first for extra-base hits. Barton was thrown out at the plate that inning on a fielder’s choice to third. Three batters after Johnson’s home run, Hannahan hit his first double.
Gaudin (11-12) got in trouble in a hurry. He’d already thrown 33 pitches early in the second inning and had only three outs to show for it.
“The locations were just off,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “He showed some flashes. A few of those innings he just dominated.”
He allowed eight runs—three earned—and eight hits, struck out three and walked one. Gaudin is 3-9 since the All-Star break after the right-hander had been one of the most reliable members of the rotation early in the season.
“Just inconsistent,” Gaudin said. “I’m not happy with it. You’re never happy when you lose. You live and learn. This game will humble you quickly.”
A’s outfielder Nick Swisher was suspended for three games and Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla received seven games, after Padilla plunked Swisher during the first inning of Sunday’s game and a bench-clearing brawl ensued.
Swisher began his suspension Tuesday, while Padilla appealed his penalty. Swisher was on crutches after fouling a ball off his right foot Monday night, though he stayed in the game.
Geren said it made little sense for Swisher to appeal his suspension, because that process takes time and that could have meant him missing time at the start of the 2008 season.
“It sounds pretty fair to me, pretty normal,” Geren said. “Obviously I wish the whole thing never happened.”
Ibanez also hit a grand slam June 23 against Cincinnati, and has five in his career. He also drove in five runs June 11 at Cleveland. … Kenji Johjima singled and scored in each of his first two at-bats after coming in 2-for-11 with a home run and two RBIs against Gaudin. … Gaudin is 4-7 this year in 14 starts against the AL West. … Jeff DaVanon replaced Swisher in the starting lineup playing CF. … Weaver has had two or fewer walks in his last nine starts. … Seattle’s seven wins in Oakland are the Mariners’ most ever. They got five victories each year from 2001-03.
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