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04/15/07 9:34 PM ET
Mariners touch down on Rangers
Ichiro, Beltre, Vidro total four homers in 14-hit, 14-run onslaught
By Bob Sherwin / Special to MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners played with exuberance Sunday as they put up large crooked numbers in a 14-6 victory over the Texas Rangers. Mariners starter Horacio Ramirez (1-0) was just happy to have any kind of numbers. He was the last Major League player on an Opening Day roster who had not played in an official game. His previous start, April 6 in Cleveland, was snowed out just one pitch away from being official. "Well, at least the weather was better," said Ramirez after going six innings and allowing seven hits and five runs (just one earned). "I think I did a good job of staying sharp." He was supported by a season high for runs and hits (14). Jose Vidro drilled a pair of home runs and had four RBIs. It was Vidro's first two-home-run game since Sept 19, 2003, and sixth of his career. Adrian Beltre had a pair of hits, including a three-run home run. Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs scored. Kenji Johjima had three hits and Raul Ibanez drove in two. "It was fun for the team to come out and swing the bats the way we did today," said Beltre, who has hit home runs in two straight games, both victories. "Our lineup is looking like it's going to be good all year." That lineup -- as well as the offensive spark -- begins with Ichiro. He makes it go, as he did Sunday with his 21st career leadoff home run. That was a critical run because it came after the Rangers had taken a 2-0 first-inning lead on Sammy Sosa's two-run double off Ramirez. "Ichiro came out and got us going right away," said Vidro, who also hit his first home run in the inning to square it at 2. "That's something that we definitely need, for him to get on base. "You get him on base with what he does, a hit, double, stolen base, it creates situations. When we don't score a lot of runs, Ichiro is not getting on base. When we score a lot of runs, he's getting on base. It's a great situation hitting behind him." The Mariners scored four more in the second, four in the fourth and four in the seventh. Vidro's three-run blast highlighted the second inning, but it was kept alive by Ichiro's 13-pitch at-bat that finished with a single. A couple of errors and Ibanez's two-run single contributed to the fourth-inning rally. Again, Ichiro singled in the inning and stole his 40th straight base without getting caught, dating back to last season. In the seventh, Ichiro extended the inning with a single just before Beltre's three-run shot that hit the left-field foul pole. "When Ichi is on base you know you can get a run out of that easy," Beltre said. "He can steal a base. He knows how the run the bases. You hit a double and you know he's going to score from first. He sets the tone for the whole lineup." Ichiro, seeking a record seventh straight season with at least 200 hits, had been in a 0-for-13 slump before Saturday's game. Now he has five hits in his last eight at-bats with six runs scored. But, as he stresses, this isn't all that easy. "I don't think that [breaking a slump] is something that happens automatically, something that will take care of its," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "I think about many things to do and many things to try. Hits are not some things that fall from heaven. They are things you need to work at to get." Ramirez, acquired in an offseason trade with Atlanta for reliever Rafael Soriano, said that coming back to tie the game in the first was vital for the victory. "I also think it was important for to have a 1-2-3 inning after our four-run inning to keep the momentum on our side," he said. He did that with a routine third inning. Manager Mike Hargrove said the Ramirez's command of the strike zone "was better than at any time in Spring Training. At times he had trouble getting that third out, trying to be too fine with his pitches. And our errors probably cost him another 25 to 30 pitches." The Mariners committed two errors and the Rangers scored four of their six runs after them. But the Rangers committed three errors for the second straight game along with some uneven defensive plays that contributed heavily to the loss. "We made some mistakes in a few innings," Texas first-year manager Ron Washington said, "and with the offense they have over there you know they put us behind the eight-ball."
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.