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McLemore: Two doubles, two singles

8/16/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ichiro Suzuki is a master of the infield single.
He's demonstrating this season he can go deep, too.

Suzuki hit his second grand slam of the season and Mark McLemore
had two doubles and two singles in four at-bats as the Seattle
Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox 10-5 on Friday night.

Suzuki's sixth-inning homer broke a 4-all tie. He lined a shot
397 feet into the right field stands after fouling off three
two-strike pitches.

"Talk about dramatic." Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "It
seems there isn't a pitch you can throw that he can't get the bat
on it. Then he gets a 93-mph fastball and hits it into the seats.
It energized the whole place."

One of Suzuki's foul balls looked like an out when it floated
near third base. Boston's Bill Mueller dropped it while trying to
make what would have been a difficult sliding catch.

"That was a situation where I was under a lot of pressure,"
Suzuki said through an interpreter. "The pitcher wanted to throw
good pitches, so I just focused and tried to put the ball in
play."

On the next pitch by Mike Timlin (4-4), Suzuki connected.

"You can't miss, not just on a hitter like Ichiro but on
anybody in the big leagues," Timlin said. "I was hitting my
spots, pounding him in. I thought I had him beat a couple of times
and I missed my spot."

Reliever Julio Mateo (4-0), who replaced Jamie Moyer in the
sixth, got just one out on two pitches but became the first Seattle
pitcher since Joel Pineiro at the end of 2000 and start of 2001 to
win his first four decisions.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who has held opponents scoreless in 46 of
his 49 appearances this season, took over with the bases loaded and
one out in the eighth. He struck out Gabe Kapler and pinch-hitter
Kevin Millar on eight pitches.

Hasegawa pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 12
opportunities.

Bret Boone added a solo home run, his 30th, to become the eighth
Mariner to reach that mark. He also hit 37 in 2001.

Suzuki is better known for slapping infield singles and speeding
around the bases, but it was exactly the kind of shot he routinely
hits in batting practice.

"You're looking for a run there, and he's awfully tough to
double up, but it's (grand slam) not out of the question," Melvin
said. "When you're pitching inside like that, those are balls he
can hit out of the park."

It also was a big night for McLemore, who took a day off after
straining his groin Wednesday against Toronto. He finished 4-for-4
with two runs scored.

"I've been feeling good at the plate the last few games,"
McLemore said. "You can't predict when you're going to get three,
four or five hits in a game. You just try to hit it well and put it
in play."

The win helped Seattle stretch its AL West lead over Oakland to
five games after the Athletics lost at home to Toronto.

The victory didn't come easily, though.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against
Armando Benitez. Todd Walker faced a full count and fouled off five
strikes before walking, bringing in Manny Ramirez to make it 8-5
before Hasegawa extinguished the threat.

As dramatic as Suzuki's homer was for Seattle, the sixth inning
was equally frustrating for the Red Sox. Boston missed two chances
to escape with double plays before Suzuki's grand slam.

"We had some missed opportunities on two double play balls,"
Boston manager Grady Little said. "You just can't give a club like
that too many outs in an inning."

McLemore hit a one-out single to right, then was safe at second
when Walker's toss pulled shortstop Nomar Garciaparra off the bag
on Dan Wilson's grounder. Walker was charged with an error.

Willie Bloomquist then hit a hard grounder at Garciaparra, who
apparently lost the ball when McLemore dodged it. It took an
awkward bounce and pegged Garciaparra in the right collarbone.

"Strange things happen. It's part of baseball," Suzuki said.

Game notes
Boston CF Johnny Damon complained of tightness in his right
hamstring and left as a precaution when he was due to bat in the
third. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Damian Jackson. ... Martinez
extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double to the
left-field corner in the third. ... Ramirez hit his seventh career
homer off Moyer. He's 15-for-38 (.395) lifetime against the lefty.
... The sellout crowd of 46,171 was the largest of the season. ...
The roof was closed for the 14th time this season in the ninth
inning.