posted on Sep, 5 2004 @ 12:23 PM
Teams have no idea how to pitch to Ichiro Suzuki these days.
"He's got everybody in the other dugout shaking their heads," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "It's almost laughable."
Suzuki went 5-for-5, but Paul Konerko hit two home runs and Mark Buehrle pitched seven strong innings to lead the Chicago White Sox to an 8-7 win over
the Mariners on Saturday night.
Suzuki leads the majors with 223 hits, 34 short of the all-time single-season record. He has 27 games remaining to reach the record of 257 hits, set
by George Sisler in 1920 with the St. Louis Browns.
"You pitch the guy wide, inside, up or down and it doesn't matter," said Buehrle, who allowed four of Suzuki's five singles.
"He didn't hit the ball hard - it barely got out of the infield - and he's still 5-for-5."
Suzuki has had five or more hits in a game three times - all this season. He has two or more hits in six of his last seven games.
Buehrle (13-8), who left after seven innings with an 8-3 lead, even lobbed an eephus pitch to start Suzuki's seventh-inning at-bat.
"In Japan, I saw that a lot," Suzuki said through a translator. "But here, it's probably the first time."
After Suzuki's fifth hit in the ninth, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
"To give an ovation to an opposing player, I think they really love the game," Suzuki said. "It really made me feel good to see that."
The White Sox opened an 8-2 lead after six innings, powered by a pair of home runs by Konerko and solo shots by Carlos Lee, Perez and Willie
Konerko's homers were his 33rd and 34th, breaking his previous season high of 32.
"Konerko has had a great year and played great for me," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's carried this team and showed up to play every
Although the White Sox hit five home runs and got a solid peformance from Buehrle, Chicago's bullpen made things dramatic at the end.
Reliever Neal Cotts gave up and unearned run in the eighth as Seattle trimmed the White Sox's lead to 8-4.
Jeff Bajenaru, making his first major league appearance, started the ninth for Chicago. Jose Lopez led off and grounded out, but Bajenaru then allowed
singles to Willie Bloomquist, Suzuki and Randy Winn as Seattle closed to 8-5.
Shingo Takatsu got two outs for his 16th save in 17 chances. He came in with one out and runners on first and third in the ninth, and struck out Edgar
Martinez before walking Bret Boone to load the bases.
Raul Ibanez singled to right to drive in two runs, but Perez threw out Boone trying to advance to third to end the game.
Buehrle allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings. Seattle starter Ryan Franklin (3-14) his 10th straight loss.
The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first on back-to-back homers by Lee and Konerko with two outs.
Chicago increased its lead to 4-0 in the second. Perez doubled and scored from second following Franklin's errant pick-off attempt and a high throw by
Winn that sailed over third. Later in the inning, Aaron Rowand singled in Juan Uribe from second.
Perez made it 5-0 with a solo homer in the third.
Seattle cut it to 5-1 in the fourth on Boone's sacrifice fly.
Konerko's second homer was a two-run shot to right in the fourth that stretched Chicago's lead to 7-1. It also chased Franklin, who was replaced by
Franklin lasted 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits.
Martinez's RBI single in the sixth made it 7-2. Harris hit a solo homer, his first, in the bottom of the inning.
Suzuki's RBI single in the seventh - his fourth hit - cut it to 8-3.