Angels run over Mariners in sixth inning as Saunders stops Seattle's offense

SEATTLE -- Inspired, Joe Saunders dominated. He dived for ground balls. He did everything -- except stop Ichiro Suzuki.

No shame there. The new Japanese hit king hasn't been stopped 3,085 other times, either.

Fueled by the memories of teammate Nick Adenhart and by the second anniversary of shootings that left 33 dead on his old campus at Virginia Tech, Saunders stopped Seattle's early-season roll by allowing just three hits and a run in seven innings. That and Mike Napoli's go-ahead, two-run single in a five-run sixth sent the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-1 victory over the Mariners on a Thursday night.

"This one is dedicated to Nick and the Hokie Nation," Saunders said proudly after he ended the Mariners' six-game winning streak.

Seattle (7-3) still tied the best 10-game start in team history.

Saunders' silencing of a lineup without 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. for the third time this season dampened Seattle's celebration of Suzuki breaking the record for hits by a Japanese player. It came hours after Adenhart, the 22-year-old rookie who was killed in an automobile accident last week, was laid to rest during a private ceremony in Maryland earlier Thursday.

Saunders' mother represented her son at the ceremony. Angels owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia led a small team contingent across the country for it.

"It was a tough night," said Saunders, sounding relieved it was over.

Suzuki, the eight-time All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder, broke the record of Isao Harimoto with a characteristically sharp single in the fourth, a one-hop smash into right field off Saunders (2-1) for his 3,086th hit. Harimoto, who played 23 seasons in Japan, smiled and flashed a thumbs-up sign from the box seats. Ichiro tipped his batting helmet to the cheering home crowd.

"Mr. Harimoto, in 1995 -- 14 years ago! -- told me, 'The only guy who could break my record is you.' For him to have that vision of the future, for him to say that to a player that has only one year under his belt, I'm amazed," Suzuki said through his interpreter.

"I thought, 'What's this crazy man saying?"

The ball Suzuki hit was thrown out of play for souvenir keeping. He then came around to score the game's first run on a ground out by Adrian Beltre.

After the inning ended, Harimoto stood and bowed from behind the Mariners' dugout to acknowledge a standing ovation.

Suzuki had 1,278 hits in nine seasons with Orix of the Pacific League. He has 1,808 in nine seasons with Seattle. He said last season was the first time he started believing Harimoto wasn't so crazy, after all.

Showing how big a deal Suzuki breaking the record is in Japan, a television network there flew the 68-year-old Harimoto to Seattle so he could see the 35-year-old superstar do it. Thursday's game was broadcast live back to Japan, in the late morning there.

"Although I didn't get the record just in Japan, I still want to express my respect for his record and what he did there," Suzuki, 35, said.

Seattle's Chris Jakubauskas, a 29-year-old former Angels fan born in Anaheim, Calif., who spent four seasons wandering around the independent leagues, cruised into the sixth with a 1-0 lead having allowed just three hits in his first major league start. Not bad for a former women's shoes salesman, a job he had a few winters ago to supplement his baseball income of then-$700 a month.

Jakubauskas' glass slipper shattered in the sixth.

A reliever this season until he replaced injured starter Ryan Rowland-Smith Thursday, he allowed singles to Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu, sandwiched around a flyout. Six throws past Jakubauskas' pitch limit of 75, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu summoned Roy Corcoran from the bullpen.

After third baseman Beltre threw Figgins out at home on Torii Hunter's fielder's choice chopper for the second out, Corcoran walked Kendry Morales to load the bases. Napoli then lined the first of three consecutive sharp singles off Corcoran on a badly misplaced 0-2 pitch, scoring Abreu and Hunter.

That's how Jakubauskas (1-1) ended up the losing pitcher, allowing two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out three and got the night's other standing ovation from the home crowd.

Jakubauskas called the cheers the highlight of his professional career.

The Angels scored three more times in the inning, on consecutive singles by Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Rivera -- the designated hitter because Vladimir Guerrero was heading back to Los Angeles to get his strained chest muscle examined -- and Maicer Izturis.

Seattle relievers had allowed one run in their previous 13 2-3 innings and had an AL-best 2.16 ERA before Corcoran flopped.

Game notes
Saunders is 5-1 in his career against Seattle. ... The Mariners put C Kenji Johjima on the 15-day disabled list (strained hamstring). Wakamatsu said Johjima might miss three weeks. Rob Johnson is the new starter.