<
>

Ichiro's homer breaks tie in 8th

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ichiro Suzuki and Richie Sexson hit solo
home runs, and Gil Meche pitched into the eighth inning of the
Seattle Mariners' 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Suzuki pulled a pitch from Chris Young (2-2) into the
right-field stands in the eighth for his second homer of the season
to break a 1-all tie. Nine of Suzuki's 39 career homers have come
against the Rangers.

Sexson's fifth homer led off the ninth against reliever Carlos
Almanzar, who allowed another run on a wild pitch.

Meche (2-1) pitched 7 2-3 innings and allowed just four hits,
three for extra bases. He struck out three and walked one.

Eddie Guardado worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight
chances.

Young retired 17 of 18 batters, and 11 in a row after Suzuki
doubled in the third, until walking Sexson with one out in the
seventh. Bret Boone then snapped an 0-for-19 stretch with a single
and Raul Ibanez had a hit to load the bases.

Randy Winn's high chopper pushed home the tying run when third
baseman Hank Blalock threw to second for the force. Young got out
of the inning when Dan Wilson had an infield popout.

Suzuki finished 2-for-4, his AL-best 12th multihit game.

Young, denied his third straight win, had the longest outing in
his 12 career starts. He pitched eight innings, allowing two runs
on five hits with three strikeouts.

Blalock led off the Texas fourth with his fourth homer, a
415-foot shot that landed in the second of deck of stands in right.
Meche then retired nine of the next 10 batters through the sixth.

The only batter to reach in that span was Richard Hidalgo on
second baseman Boone's error in the fifth. Boone let a weak popup
drop in front of him on the dirt and the ball took an awkward
bounce off his bare hand.

After Meche left with a runner at second base in the eighth, Ron
Villone struck out Blalock.

The offensive struggles continued for Hidalgo, who has dropped
to seventh in the batting order. His season averaged fell to .173
after going 0-for-3 and stretched his slump to 7-for-61 over 16
games.

Hidalgo still had some nice defensive plays. He made a leaping
catch against the wall on Boone's deep fly to right-center to start
the second, and in the sixth made a running catch against Suzuki.

Game notes
Rangers CF Laynce Nix entered the game 4-for-9 against
Meche, all four hits being homers. He doubled off the left-center
wall in his first at-bat in the third. ... Seattle manager Mike
Hargrove has 1,007 wins, 51st on the career list and one behind
Chuck Dressen. ... Guardado has saved five of the last six Mariners
wins.