Again, Guillen was there for them after three regulars were
forced out of the game with injuries. He hit a two-run walkoff
homer in the 11th inning Saturday to give the Angels a stunning 9-8
victory over the beleaguered Seattle Mariners.
Curtis Pride, who took over in the outfield for an injured
Vladimir Guerrero, led off the 11th with a single against Eddie
Guardado (2-2). Guillen, who had a team-leading 25 RBI in July,
drove an 0-1 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his 20th homer --
and career-high fifth hit -- before being mobbed by his teammates as
he crossed home plate.
"Jose's always there in that four- or five-hole, and he's done
nothing but produce for us," Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy
said. "Vlad gets a lot of attention for the numbers he puts up and
the respect he gets in the lineup -- but without Guillen being in
there every day for most of the year, he's the one who's making
sure we're always still in the game."
David Eckstein got an RBI single in the eighth against
Shigetoshi Hasegawa to give Anaheim a 7-6 lead. But, a day after
his 21-game hitting streak ended, Ichiro Suzuki homered into the
right-field seats on reliever Troy Percival's first pitch of the
ninth to tie it for the Mariners.
"Ichiro's one of the best guys in the game at putting the ball
in play," Percival said. "He can hit for power if he wants to, he
can hit the ball the other way, he can drag-bunt -- I mean, he
doesn't have a weakness at the plate. And with his speed, he's
going to buy a lot of hits."
Suzuki went 3-for-6 and became the first player since Pete Rose
with as many as three 50-hit months in a career. He also became the
first player with two 50-hit months in the same season since Ducky
Medwick accomplished it with the 1936 St. Louis Cardinals. Suzuki
had 50 in May, and 51 in August 2001.
"It would be a little different if the record was like two
years ago. But when I hear that it was in 1936, it makes me happy
and I feel like I became a part of the history of baseball in the
United States," Suzuki said through a translator. "I've been here
3½ years now and I've had many great moments, so you can't really
compare them. They've all been great."
It was another frustrating outing for Guardado, a two-time
All-Star who surrendered Bengie Molina's tying two-run homer in the
ninth inning Thursday night before the Mariners won it in the 13th
to end a club-record 15-game road losing streak.
"I've been watching Eddie, and I don't think he's right,"
Percival said. "When Eddie's on, he's as tough as they come. He's
a warrior. You feel bad for him and I wish him the best, but I'm
happy for our team because we needed that win."
Guerrero hit his 23rd home run for Anaheim, but left with a
bruised left shoulder after he was struck by a wild throw from
Seattle third baseman Jolbert Cabrera in the fifth.
Molina also departed in the seventh with a bruised injured right
index finger after trying to stop a wild pitch by reliever Kevin
Gregg. Eckstein couldn't finish the game at shortstop after getting
hit on the left leg by J.J. Putz in the 10th.
The Mariners blew a 5-0 lead for the third time in six games and
second time in this four-game series, after Miguel Olivo and Raul
Ibanez homered in a five-run third. Seattle left-hander Travis
Blackley never made it out of the fifth, allowing five runs -- four
earned -- and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings in his sixth big league
Anaheim loaded the bases with one out in the fifth and Seattle
manager Bob Melvin brought in Scott Atchison, whose first pitch in
his major league debut was lined into right field by Guillen for an
RBI single that narrowed the gap to 6-4.
Guillen fought off Atchison's 3-1 pitch in the seventh and
looped it to right field to drive in Garret Anderson and tie the
score at 6.
"The approach he has with men in scoring position is probably
the most impressive I've ever seen," Kennedy said. "I mean, the
pitcher's in trouble when he's up with men on base."
Anaheim starter Kelvim Escobar allowed six runs and nine hits in
six innings. The right-hander has won only one of his last 11
outings -- an 11-2 rout at Toronto on June 3.
Guardado's blown save was the 19th by the Mariners bullpen
in 38 opportunities. ... Percival's blown save was the 50th of his
career, against 301 saves. His conversion percentage is the
third-best among the 18 members of the 300-save club, behind Trevor
Hoffman and Mariano Rivera. ... Jose Lopez made his major league
debut at shortstop after being promoted from Triple-A Tacoma, and
was 0-for-5. Infielder Ramon Santiago was optioned to the Rainiers.