ARLINGTON, Texas – The much-anticipated return of Brandon Morrow to the mound was made somewhat easier by another Mariners player making it back for this one.
That would be Ichiro Suzuki, a player who had been in uniform the past few days but had gone missing in action at the plate. That changed in a hurry on Saturday night as Ichiro doubled, scored a run and then hit a home run in his first two at-bats of a 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers.
Ichiro’s early hitting, coming on a wet night delayed 17 minutes at the start, left him two hits shy of 200 for a record ninth consecutive season and helped make a winner out of Morrow for the first time in nearly a year.
The game was delayed again in the bottom of the ninth inning, and finally called.
A crowd of 22,468 at Rangers Ballpark, sitting in a steady rain throughout the contest, saw Ichiro drill the first pitch of the night down the right-field line for a double off Rangers starter Kevin Millwood. He then scored on a single up the middle by Ken Griffey Jr.
Ichiro opened the third inning by putting a 2-1 pitch from Millwood into the right-field seats. After that, Griffey, who had a three-hit night, doubled home a run that inning to give Morrow a 3-0 lead.
Griffey later added his second double of the night in the eighth inning as the Mariners tacked on another run to complete the rout and knock the Rangers three games behind Boston in the A.L. wild-card race.
Morrow, optioned to Triple-A after a July 10 start against the Rangers, allowed just one hit his first two innings of work. He then served up a two-run homer to right-center by Julio Borbon in the third inning that cut Seattle’s lead to 3-2.
But the Mariners continued to pound Millwood, knocking him from the game with two more runs in the fifth on a Franklin Gutierrez double.
Editor’s note: Look for weekly baseball statistics in Monday’s sports section.
Mariners 8, Rangers 3
|Griffey Jr. dh||4||1||3||2||1||0||.221|
E—Ja.Wilson (5). LOB—Seattle 12, Texas 5. 2B—I.Suzuki (28), F.Gutierrez (18), Griffey Jr. 2 (18), Hannahan (13), Kinsler (27), C.Davis (12). HR—I.Suzuki (9), off Millwood; Borbon (4), off Morrow. RBIs—I.Suzuki (38), F.Gutierrez 2 (60), Griffey Jr. 2 (45), Beltre (34), Hannahan 2 (18), Borbon 3 (13). RLISP—Seattle 8 (Ro.Johnson, Hall, Griffey Jr., Jo.Lopez, F.Gutierrez 3, Hannahan); Texas 1 (M.Byrd). RMU—I.Suzuki, Ja.Wilson, Borbon, German. GIDP—Hannahan, Dav.Murphy. DP—Seattle 1 (Hannahan, Ja.Wilson, Hannahan); Texas 1 (Andrus, C.Davis).
|Morrow W, 1-4||5||5||3||3||2||1||5.29|
|Kelley H, 6||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.58|
|Millwood L, 10-10||3 2/3||8||5||5||2||4||3.94|
IR-S—Nippert 2-0, W.Eyre 2-0. IBB—off W.Eyre (I.Suzuki). T—3:10 (Rain delay: 1:23). A—22,468 (49,170).