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09/14/08 1:19 AM ET
Ichiro moves closer to 200 hits in loss
Right fielder singles, triples vs. Angels to reach 194 knocks
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki moved two hits closer to another 200-hit season on Saturday night, but the Mariners took another step toward their 100th loss, dropping a 5-2 decision to the American League West champion Angels in front of 43,757 at Angel Stadium. Seattle (57-90) also became part of MLB history -- the 58th save for Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez this season. K-Rod moved to the top of the single-season closer class that had been led by former White Sox closer Bobby Thigpen with 57 saves in 1990. Unless the Mariners win six of their remaining 15 games, they will become the fourth team in franchise history to lose at least 100 games, the first since 1983, and the least likely of all four to have this kind of season. Ichiro, meanwhile, continued his pursuit of an eighth straight 200-hit season. He singled in the first inning and tripled in the fifth, giving him 194 hits for the season and six hits away from joining Hall of Famer Willie Keeler as the only players in MLB history to start their careers with eight 200-hit seasons. For the second straight game, and 53rd time in 141 official first-inning at bats, Ichiro reached on a single. Unlike Friday night, when he was thrown out trying to score, he made the complete circuit around the base on Saturday night as the Mariners took an early lead. Ichiro scored on an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly. After first baseman Jose Lopez walked, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt drove a run-scoring single into left field. But as often happens when these two teams play, the Mariners' lead was short-lived. Left-hander Ryan Feierabend had an easy first inning, picking off Mark Teixeira at first base after walking him for the final out of the inning, but the first two batters in the second inning got the Angels even. Torii Hunter singled and Juan Rivera followed with his 12th home run of the season. That same duo was at it again in the fourth inning, hitting back-to-back doubles to put the Angels and right-handed starter Jon Garland ahead for good. Feierabend handled most of the Angels' lineup well, but Hunter and Rivera were notable exceptions. They went a combined 5-for-6 against him, with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs. "I couldn't believe Rivera hit that pitch for a home run," Feierabend said. "I called [catcher] Rob [Johnson] out and asked him if that was a good pitch, and he said it was. [Rivera] just turned on it and the ball seemed to carry pretty well to center field tonight. "The ball [Rivera] hit for a double over [Jeremy] Reed's head [in the fourth inning] seemed to kick into another gear when it was in the air. It was just one of those games." But overall, Feierabend (1-3) said he was pleased with his five-plus inning performance. "There were a couple of pitches I would have liked to have had back, but I would have liked to have stayed out there for the sixth inning," the lefty starter said. Manger Jim Riggleman said of Feierabend, "He kept us in there and did a good job against a good lineup. He gave us a chance to win."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.