Ichiro powers Mariners past Royals
Saturday, September 10, 2011
SEATTLE (AP) — If there are more nights like Friday, Safeco Field will start to lose its reputation as a pitcher’s park.
Ichiro Suzuki had four hits, including a homer, to help the Seattle Mariners amass 15 hits during a 7-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak each added three hits for the Mariners. Olivo fell a single short of the cycle. He doubled, homered then tripled in his first three at-bats.
“I’m very happy,” Olivo said. “Me and Smoak and (Ichiro) today, we put things together.”
Blake Beavan (4-5) gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings, retiring 13 consecutive batters during one stretch.
Jeff Francis (5-16) allowed five runs in 3 1-3 innings. It could have been worse had Kansas City right fielder Jeff Francoeur not made an amazing catch in right field, taking a home run away from Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley in the third inning.
Francoeur jumped, then reached over the wall to catch the deep fly ball. Replays showed the ball ticked off the glove of a fan before landing in Francoeur’s, which should have made it a home run. Umpires ruled it was an out.
“To think that it should have been a home run to begin with, and it was caught, and then it should have been a home run again because it hit a fan’s glove, that’s one of those things where I wish they could have maybe replayed it,” Ackley said.
Francoeur also caught a hard line drive by Ackley an inning later.
“That was pretty tough, too,” Francoeur said. “I’m pretty sure he hates me right now.”
Alex Gordon hit the first pitch of the game into the right field stands for his 21st homer. Melky Cabrera followed with a triple and Beavan was in trouble. Billy Butler’s groundout to second pushed home Cabrera.
The Mariners quickly responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Brendan Ryan scored on Olivo’s double. He came home when Smoak singled up the middle.
The first-inning production against Francis continued a trend. Opponents are hitting .358 against Francis in the first inning. He has allowed 97 runs this season with 31 coming in the opening frame.
“I was just missing locations over and over again,” Francis said.
Beavan steadied after his rocky first inning. After giving up a leadoff single in the second, he retired 13 consecutive.
“After that first inning, (I) kind of blew some steam off and got it out of my head,” Beavan said. “Went back out there and regrouped, using my breaking ball a lot more and getting them off of my fastball.”
Suzuki led off the third with his fifth homer of the season. Two outs later Olivo added his 17th homer of the season. Seattle tacked on a run in the fourth and two in the fifth on RBI singles by Smoak and Wily Mo Pena to make it 7-2.
Gordon’s seventh-inning single drove home Kansas City’s third run.
Notes: Left-hander Everett Teaford will start for the Royals on Sunday. ... Michael Pineda starts for Seattle on Saturday, likely making his second-to-last start of the season. The Mariners plan to shut down the rookie who has thrown 159 innings, a personal professional career high. ... Pineda will be opposed by Felipe Paulino, who is 1-4 in his last nine decisions. He allowed six earned runs in his last outing, a loss to Oakland on Sept. 5. ... Following Thursday night’s 4-1 win, the Mariners moved to 23-3 on the year in games they allowed one run or less. ... Coming into Friday, Suzuki is a lifetime .363 hitter against the Royals.