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Baseball: Ichiro moves to within 30 hits of record

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Ben

posted on Sep, 9 2004 @ 12:20 PM
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Ronnie Belliard didn't even know what pitch hit for a three-run homer.

"I went back to the dugout and asked Eddie," he said, referring to Cleveland hitting coach Eddie Murray. "I was just trying to make contact."

Belliard hit a three-run homer on a fastball in the fourth inning, and the Indians went on to beat the Seattle Mariners 9-5 on Wednesday night.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and moved within 30 hits of tying George Sisler's major league season record of 257 hits. He has 24 games to reach Sisler's mark, set in 1920 with the St. Louis Browns.

Cliff Lee (11-7) held Suzuki hitless in his first three at-bats.

"I just threw it right at him," Lee said. "I threw him one curve and every other pitch was a fastball. I let him get himself out. But he's been swinging the bat so good I don't think anybody knows how to really get him out."

At 69-71, the Indians have one more victory than last season, when they were 68-94.

"Obviously, it's significant," manager Eric Wedge said. "Now, we have to keep plowing and grinding and try to win as many as we can."

Jody Gerut also homered and Ben Broussard drove in two runs for the Indians, who won the season series 5-4.

Edgar Martinez hit two homers, and Bret Boone and Greg Dobbs had one each for Seattle, which lost its seventh straight.

Dobbs' homer came in his first major league at-bat, the first Mariners player to accomplish the feat. He sent a 3-2 pitch from Bob Wickman over the right-field wall in the ninth inning.

Dobbs, 26, was in pain after fouling the previous pitch off his right shin, but he managed a wide smile.

"I got a pretty good knot on it right now," Dobbs said. "I can feel it swelling up. I had to calm myself down after that and just focus on the at bat."

Victor Martinez gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single.

Edgar Martinez, the Mariners' 41-year-old designated hitter who is retiring at the end of the season, homered off Lee in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 1.

Martinez put Seattle ahead 3-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth for his first two-homer game of the season.

Despite his two homers, Martinez will be given the night off on Thursday when the Mariners open a four-game series with Boston because manager Bob Melvin doesn't want him to face knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

"He's had a little trouble with him," Melvin said. "It's a good day to give him off."

Belliard homered in the fourth, when the Indians scored four unearned runs.

Matt Lawton reached on fielding error by second baseman Boone and went to second on the play. He moved to third on Victor Martinez's groundout and scored on Travis Hafner's single. Casey Blake followed with a double to put runners on second and third, and one out later, Belliard hit his ninth of the season to make it 5-3.

Boone hit his 21st homer of the season in the fifth, the third off Lee.

Cleveland scored three insurance runs in the seventh to go ahead 8-4. Blake singled in a run and Broussard drove in two runs with a single.

After singling in the seventh, Suzuki leads the majors with a .377 batting average. He also stole his 33rd base of the season, second in the AL.

Coco Crisp went 3-for-5 with a walk to pace a 14-hit Indians' attack.

Making his 10th start since winning 18-6 at Seattle July 16, Lee ended a six-game losing streak. In five innings, Lee gave up four runs on five hits and three walks, with six strikeouts.

"It's been awhile," said. "But I feel comfortable throwing here. I like this park. I wasn't great out there, but I got the win and I'll definitely take it."

Cha Seung Baek (1-2) lost his second career major league start, allowing five runs - one earned - and eight hits.




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