OAKLAND, Calif. -- Of any year, Raul Ibanez could hardly
have expected to reach 100 RBIs this season. Not with the way his
tender shoulder limited him early. Or the thigh injury that also
affected his first-half numbers.
"No," he said, shaking his head. "No." Ibanez hit a grand slam and doubled in a run to give him 100
RBIs for the second straight year, helping Jeff Weaver end a
four-start winless stretch and the Seattle Mariners beat the
Oakland Athletics 8-7 Tuesday night.
Division Magic Numbers
The magic number is derived by adding one to the number of
remaining games and subtracting the number of games ahead in the
loss column from the second-place team. Here's where the leaders stand:
"Everybody goes through stretches," Ibanez said. "It's not
something I really thought about. There are some things, adversity
I had to overcome. I'm proud of that, because it was tough there
for a while." Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the
first of three doubles that Seattle hit to start the game off Chad Gaudin. Suzuki also drove in two runs in the Mariners' seventh
victory in eight tries this year at the Oakland Coliseum. Ibanez's 19th homer and second slam of the year highlighted
Seattle's five-run fourth, which also featured Suzuki's
bases-loaded walk to force in a run. All five runs were unearned
after Gaudin bobbled the ball for an error trying to field a bunt. "There was a point I never thought he had a chance for 100,"
Mariners manager John McLaren said of Ibanez. "But he's a quality
player and even more of a quality person." Weaver (7-12) won for the first time since Aug. 23 at Texas and
improved his road record to 4-7 this year. Weaver allowed five hits
and three runs, two earned, struck out three and walked one in
seven innings before giving way to Eric O'Flaherty in the eighth. O'Flaherty loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter and two
walks, then was replaced by Sean Green. He immediately gave up Mark
Ellis' bases-clearing triple that made it 8-6. Jack Hannahan
followed with his second RBI double of the night. Brandon Morrow relieved and got pinch-hitter Mike Piazza to fly
out to center. George Sherrill struck out the side in the ninth for
his second save in six chances, filling in because closer J.J. Putz
is nursing tightness in his triceps muscle. "It got too close for comfort, I'll tell you that much,"
McLaren said. "I'm still fired up." Dan Johnson hit his 18th home run leading off the seventh for
Oakland, which until then had managed only Daric Barton's RBI
double in the first for extra-base hits. Barton was thrown out at
the plate that inning on a fielder's choice to third. Three batters
after Johnson's home run, Hannahan hit his first double. Gaudin (11-12) got in trouble in a hurry. He'd already thrown 33
pitches early in the second inning and had only three outs to show
for it. "The locations were just off," A's manager Bob Geren said.
"He showed some flashes. A few of those innings he just
dominated." He allowed eight runs -- three earned -- and eight hits, struck
out three and walked one. Gaudin is 3-9 since the All-Star break
after the right-hander had been one of the most reliable members of
the rotation early in the season. "Just inconsistent," Gaudin said. "I'm not happy with it.
You're never happy when you lose. You live and learn. This game
will humble you quickly." A's outfielder Nick Swisher was suspended for three games and
Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla received seven games, after
Padilla plunked Swisher during the first inning of Sunday's game
and a bench-clearing brawl ensued. Swisher began his suspension Tuesday, while Padilla appealed his
penalty. Swisher was on crutches after fouling a ball off his right
foot Monday night, though he stayed in the game. Geren said it made little sense for Swisher to appeal his
suspension, because that process takes time and that could have
meant him missing time at the start of the 2008 season. "It sounds pretty fair to me, pretty normal," Geren said.
"Obviously I wish the whole thing never happened."
Ibanez also hit a grand slam June 23 against Cincinnati,
and has five in his career. He also drove in five runs June 11 at
Cleveland. ... Kenji Johjima singled and scored in each of his
first two at-bats after coming in 2-for-11 with a home run and two
RBIs against Gaudin. ... Gaudin is 4-7 this year in 14 starts
against the AL West. ... Jeff DaVanon replaced Swisher in the
starting lineup playing CF. ... Weaver has had two or fewer walks
in his last nine starts. ... Seattle's seven wins in Oakland are
the Mariners' most ever. They got five victories each year from