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Saunders, Angels end Mariners' 6-game win streak


Saunders, Angels end Mariners' 6-game win streak
SEATTLE (AP) - Ichiro Suzuki's quest for the Japanese hits record met Joe Saunders' mission to honor Nick Adenhart and a tragedy at his alma mater.

In a sense, both players won.

Saunders, inspired by the 22-year-old Adenhart being laid to rest in Maryland earlier in the day and by the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, dominated every Mariners player except Suzuki on Thursday night. He allowed just three hits in seven innings of the Los Angeles Angels' 5-1 victory that stopped Seattle's six-game winning streak.

"This one is dedicated to Nick and the Hokie Nation," Saunders said after improving to 5-1 in his career against Seattle.

The only thing he didn't do was stop Suzuki from becoming the new Japanese hit king.

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 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.

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.

Saunders (2-1) became a winner when Mike Napoli hit an 0-2 pitch from Roy Corcoran for a go-ahead, two-run single in a five-run sixth.

Seattle (7-3) has still matched 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 came hours after Adenhart, the Angels' rookie pitcher who was killed in an automobile accident last week, was laid to rest during a private ceremony. 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.

Indians 10, Yankees 2

At New York, Jhonny Peralta broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double of Jose Veras (0-1), and Grady Sizemore hit a grand slam to help the Indians hand the Yankees a humiliating loss in the first game at their new $1.5 billion ballpark.

Yankees batters stranded 10 runners in the first five innings, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The primary cheers were for Jorge Posada, who hit the first home run in the ballpark's history, a fifth-inning drive off Cliff Lee (1-2) that that landed in Monument Park behind center field.

CC Sabathia, pitching in pinstripes for the first time since signing a $161 million, seven-year contract, allowed an RBI double to Kelly Shoppach in the fourth. But he left after 122 pitches and 5 2-3 innings in his first start against his former team.

White Sox 3, Rays 2

At St. Petersburg, Fla., John Danks pitched six strong innings and Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer to lead Chicago.

Danks (1-0) limited the AL champions to two hits and had a shutout until Carlos Pena homered with one out in the sixth. Dioner Navarro had the other hit off the left-hander, a two-out single in the second inning.

Dye homered off Jeff Niemann (0-2) in the second. The White Sox wasted several opportunities to break the game open against the right-hander, including the sixth, when they loaded the bases with one out and failed to score.

Blue Jays 9, Twins 2

At Minneapolis, Roy Halladay reared back and stifled the Twins again with seven dominant innings for Toronto.

Marco Scutaro hustled home for a first-inning run off Francisco Liriano (0-3) and broke the game open with a two-run shot in a seven-run seventh highlighted by Kevin Millar's fourth career grand slam. Halladay improved to 8-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his career against the Twins.

Toronto won three of four in the series and has taken 12 of the past 13 from Minnesota. Halladay (3-0) allowed eight hits and struck out eight without a walk. The 6-foot-6 right-hander allowed one run in the second inning on a fielder's choice.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 17, 2009

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