September 23, 2010 in Sports

Ichiro records 10th straight 200-hit season as M’s lose

Associated Press
 
Frank Gunn photo

Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki tips his helmet to cheering fans after hitting his 200th hit of the season during the fifth inning of a baseball against the Blue Jays in Toronto, Thursday Sept. 23, 2010.
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TORONTO — Jose Bautista drove in the only run with his major league-leading 50th homer, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 today.

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki also became the first player with 10 straight 200-hit seasons, breaking his own record with a fifth-inning single.

Toronto right-hander Shawn Hill (1-2) pitched five shutout innings to win for the first time since April 10, 2009, with San Diego. Brad Mills, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs all worked one inning before Kevin Gregg closed it out in the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.

Bautista became the 26th player in baseball history to reach the 50-home run mark with a first-inning solo blast off Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (12-12).

After fouling back a 2-0 pitch, Bautista hammered the next one into the left field bullpen. All 50 of his homers have been to left or left center. He exchanged hugs and fist bumps with his teammates before coming out of the dugout for a curtain call.

The homer was Bautista’s major league-high 31st at home this season, breaking Carlos Delgado’s Toronto record set in 2000.

Prince Fielder (50) and Alex Rodriguez (54) were the last players to hit 50 homers, both in 2007.

Suzuki struck out in the first, doubled to left in the third and collected his 200th hit when he lined to center on the first pitch he saw from Hill in fifth.

His teammates came to the top step of the dugout to applaud him and Suzuki tipped his cap as the crowd of 12,590 gave him a standing ovation.

Suzuki, who finished 2 for 5, surpassed Willie Keeler with his ninth consecutive 200-hit season last year. He now has more 200-hit seasons than any player in AL history, breaking the record he shared with Ty Cobb. Pete Rose is the only other player to record 10 seasons with 200 or more hits.

Bautista’s homer was the only run allowed by Hernandez, who gave up two hits in eight innings, his sixth complete game of the season and the 13th of his career. The right-hander, who walked four and struck out five, lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.31.

Hill, who gave up four hits and walked one, matched a career-high by with seven strikeouts.

NOTES: Bautista has 26 home runs since the All Star break, a Blue Jays record. … More than two dozen Japanese reporters were on hand at Rogers Centre to document Suzuki’s record-setting hit. … Toronto OF Fred Lewis left the team to have season-ending surgery on his left foot. … Mariners rookie Matt Mangini got his first major league hit, a leadoff single in the ninth. … Seattle OF Franklin Gutierrez, who had missed the past two games with flulike symptoms, pinch hit for Michael Saunders in the eighth. Gutierrez flied out to center.

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