OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Aside from Ichiro Suzuki's brief slump --
and 0-for-9 certainly counts as a slump for him -- Seattle's star
leadoff hitter has carried his fabulous finish from last season
into this year.
And the modest right fielder really doesn't think much of it.
Suzuki had three hits with a triple and two RBI in his major
league-leading 13th multihit game, and the Mariners beat the
Oakland Athletics 4-2 Friday night for their third win in four
"It's just another day," Suzuki said. "Just regular. Just
Bret Boone led off the eighth with a solo home run off Ricardo
Rincon for his 999th career RBI and Aaron Sele (2-2) outdueled Dan
Haren to end a two-start losing streak, calmly working out of
trouble in six strong innings for one of his best starts since
rejoining his former team.
"It was a struggle, a real battle in there for six innings,"
Sele said. "I had to make some good pitches at times."
Jamie Moyer puts his 4-0 record on the line Saturday for the
Mariners, who are looking good during a difficult stretch in which
they play 12 of 15 games on the road until May 11.
Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis each had two hits for the A's, who
again struggled to provide their starting pitcher with enough run
support. Oakland, known for its slow starts in April in recent
years, would like to gain some momentum after taking two of three
from the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week.
It won't happen if the A's keep stranding runners at this rate --
they left 12 on Friday night.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove had a hard time seeing his
pitchers keep putting runners aboard, making for long innings.
"It was five minutes of bliss [on offense] followed by 20
minutes of absolute terror," he said.
In the eighth, Kotsay hit an RBI single against Ron Villone, who
came in after J.J. Putz put two runners aboard with two outs. Eddie
Guardado worked the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances,
giving him 26 with the Mariners to tie Enrique Romo for 10th most
in club history.
Scott Hatteberg drove in Kendall with a first-inning groundout,
then the A's had baserunners beyond first in the second, third,
fourth and fifth innings and couldn't capitalize against Sele.
"That's going to be my M.O. this year," Sele said of allowing
baserunners. "It's not the ideal way to pitch, but there are days
the other team forces you to pitch like that."
Haren (1-3) had a career-high nine strikeouts, allowed two
earned runs and six hits and walked three. He got his first taste
of how it feels to face Suzuki, who surpassed George Sisler's
84-year-old mark to establish the single-season hits record last
season with 262.
"With him, change what you do every time," Haren said. "He
got two hits on two real good pitches. ... You just hope he doesn't
come up in an RBI situation."
Trainer Larry Davis and manager Ken Macha rushed out to check on
Haren when Wilson Valdez's third-inning grounder clipped off the
pitcher's left foot. Hatteberg misplayed the ball at first base for
an error, then Suzuki followed with a triple that got past diving
right fielder Nick Swisher and rolled to the wall to score Valdez.
Moments later, Jeremy Reed hit a bouncing grounder against a
drawn-in infield that went under the glove of diving shortstop
Marco Scutaro for a single, scoring Suzuki for a 2-1 lead. Macha
said Suzuki would have probably scored even if the A's had played
back and Scutaro had cleanly fielded Reed's grounder.
"I don't like to give away runs at any time," Macha said.
"Play back, we'd catch the ball but that was Ichiro on third."
Suzuki added an RBI single to left in the fourth, then singled
again in the ninth.
Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre was the only member of the
Mariners to previously face Haren, a right-hander who joined the
A's from St. Louis in the trade that sent Mark Mulder to the NL
champion Cardinals in December.
Beltre, who had a double, an RBI and a strikeout in two previous
games against Haren, went 2-for-5 with a double.
Chavez, who came in batting .181 and is used to slow starts,
doubled to the wall in right in the first, then hit a fifth-inning
Sele is 15-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 32 career starts against
the A's. ... Before the game, everyone in the A's clubhouse was
closely monitoring the matchup of Atlanta's Tim Hudson vs. Mulder
and St. Louis -- two former members of the A's Big Three. Mulder's
Cardinals won 6-5. ... Oakland third-base coach Ron Washington
celebrated his 53rd birthday. ... The A's used RHP reliever Kiko
Calero in the ninth. They were determined to get him in the game to
see how his tender elbow responded. Calero hadn't pitched in 11
games because of tendinitis in the elbow.