Suzuki, Ibanez lead Mariners past Rangers
Ibanez also had three RBIs and Suzuki moved within 10 of an eighth straight season with at least 200 hits. That would tie Wee Willie Keeler for the most 200-hit seasons to start a career.
“It’s always been a clear goal for me,” Suzuki said. “So there is not a reason that I wouldn’t be motivated.”
The second-place Rangers’ loss coupled with the Angels’ 4-2 win over the New York Yankees clinched the division for Los Angeles, which became the first team in the majors to wrap up a spot in the postseason.
“To be able to clinch with two weeks left in the season shows you they have been playing great baseball all year long,” Texas shortstop Michael Young said. “They deserve it for sure.”
The Mariners felt some relief with Los Angeles wrapping it up. They play their next four games in Anaheim so they avoid having the Angels celebrate in front of them as they did last season.
“You want to be the team celebrating but not the team they’re celebrating on,” Ibanez said. “They play an aggressive style of baseball. It’s fun to watch on TV but not fun to play against. I have a lot of respect for that club and what they’ve done.”
Ibanez hit a tiebreaking RBI single off Kameron Loe in the sixth to make it 7-6 and added another run-scoring single with two outs in the seventh.
It was another nice day in a terrific second half for Ibanez, who is batting .310 with 23 homers and 105 RBIs on the year.
“I’m just glad I don’t have to face him,” Putz said. “Raul has been as hot as anybody in the game right now. It’s really nothing new. He’s been as consistent as anybody the past three or four years. It’s been a pleasure to call him a teammate and watch what he has been doing.”
Suzuki got the Mariners off to a fast start. He led off the first with an infield single, stole second on the next pitch and raced to third when catcher Teagarden’s throw went into center field.
Yuniesky Betancourt then hit a grounder to shortstop, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
Kenji Johjima hit a two-run single in the second, and Ibanez doubled in Betancourt in the third.
Cesar Jimenez worked three scoreless innings in his first major league start for Seattle, which used a committee approach with its starting pitchers ailing. Cruz and Teagarden connected against Jared Wells in the fifth to tie it at 4.
The Mariners’ first three hitters, Suzuki, Betancourt and Ibanez, went 10-for-14, scored five runs and drove in four.
Millwood allowed seven runs, five earned, and 11 hits in five-plus innings.
“I just wasn’t good,” he said. “I thought I made some good pitches; I just didn’t make enough of them.”
Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre flew to Los Angeles to see a hand specialist about his injured left thumb. “He was really sore (Tuesday) so I know we’ll shut him down a couple days, probably,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’ll talk with the doctor and decide what needs to be done at this time or later.” There is concern that Beltre will need surgery, which would end his season. … Texas’ Milton Bradley, who came out of Tuesday’s game with back pain, sat out Wednesday. Texas manager Ron Washington said it is not a serious issue and expects him to be ready for the four-game Oakland series beginning Thursday. … Ranger C/DH Gerald Laird batted leadoff Wednesday for the first time in his career. He was 0-2 with a pair of walks.