Ichiro struggles again in his pursuit of 9th consecutive 200-hit season
ANAHEIM, Calif. – At least the Mariners can say they did not go down without a fight.
But they did go down without an offense in this series, a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night capping off a sweep here by the home side. The Mariners came here with an army of Japanese media camped all around the team, hoping to see a plethora of hits.
Instead, leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki was kept in check by Angels pitching and the Mariners were largely invisible when it came to doing anything in his place. Not even a strong, seven-inning effort by Ryan Rowland-Smith on this night was going to be enough to counter a Seattle offense that scored only six runs in the three games played here.
A crowd of 37,412 at Angel Stadium saw the home side score all the runs it needed it the fourth inning when Torii Hunter unloaded a deep drive over the center-field fence for a two-run homer. Erick Aybar later doubled home a run in the seventh inning as the Mariners lost their fifth in a row and are just three games better than .500.
Ichiro went hitless for the second time in three nights here and finished 1 for 13 in the series. In the past, Ichiro has admitted to putting pressure on himself to try to continue his streak of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons.
Now, as he tries for a record ninth, it could be that he is feeling even greater heat than before, with the interest level in Japan reaching levels rarely seen during his nine seasons in the majors.
The Mariners scored only two runs before the ninth innings of the three games combined.
They have scored seven runs the last four games dating back to a loss in the series finale at Oakland.
The lack of offense once again spelled doom for Rowland-Smith’s quest at a victory. Rowland-Smith has won just once the past month and this was the fourth “quality start” of at least six innings, three earned runs or fewer allowed without a victory during that stretch.
One positive is that Rowland-Smith continues to go deep into games. He threw 106 pitches in this contest, the third straight time he’s crossed the century mark.
Angels 3, Mariners 0
|Griffey Jr. dh||4||0||1||0||0||0||.215|
LOB—Seattle 4, Los Angeles 6. 2B—Griffey Jr. (16), Hall (6), Johjima (7), E.Aybar (21), H.Kendrick (16). HR—Tor.Hunter (20), off Rowland-Smith. RBIs—E.Aybar (53), Tor.Hunter 2 (80). CS—Hall (2). RLSP—Seattle 4 (Carp, Beltre, Jo.Wilson, Griffey Jr.); Los Angeles 3 (E.Aybar, B.Abreu 2). GIDP—Jo.Lopez, Carp, B.Abreu 2. DP—Seattle 2 (Jo.Lopez, Jo.Wilson, Carp), (Carp, Jo.Wilson, Carp); Los Angeles 2 (E.Aybar, H.Kendrick, K.Morales), (K.Morales, E.Aybar, K.Morales).
HBP—by Lackey (Jo.Lopez). T—2:02. A—37,412 (45,257).
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