Ichiro breaks Mariners’ record in victory

April 3, 2011, 4:38 AM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

OAKLAND, Calif. — Brian Fuentes would have preferred a different outcome. He wanted to make a good first impression on his new Oakland teammates.

Instead he watched Ichiro Suzuki set a Seattle franchise record for hits.

Fuentes allowed three runs and three hits in the ninth inning of the Athletics’ 5-2 loss to the Mariners on Saturday night.

"It wasn’t any more difficult than I made it," Fuentes said. "I wasn’t consistent enough in the strike zone. It’s always frustrating to come out and pitch poorly."

Fuentes (0-1) gave up Suzuki’s record-breaking hit, an infield dribbler that drove in the go-ahead run. First baseman Daric Barton tracked it down but couldn’t nail Jack Wilson at the plate.

Suzuki has 2,248 hits, one better than Edgar Martinez. The milestone came on the 10th anniversary of Suzuki’s major league debut.

A’s starter Brett Anderson allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one while throwing 108 pitches.

"I got my pitch count up fairly quick," Anderson said. "They wanted to get into hitter’s counts and then try and take advantage of that. It’s frustrating but there are 160 games left."

Chris Ray (1-0) earned the win despite giving up the tying run, and Brandon League pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Barton had three hits for the A’s, who are off to an 0-2 start for just the second time in the last 13 years.

The Mariners nearly wasted a solid effort by starter Jason Vargas, who pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning. But Jack Wilson and Milton Bradley had two hits apiece and Suzuki came up with another clutch play.

Chone Figgins added a sacrifice fly as Seattle broke it open with three runs.

The Mariners scored in the sixth and seventh to take a 2-1 lead. Jack Cust drove in fellow former Oakland slugger Bradley with an RBI single and Michael Saunders had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly.

One day after 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez handcuffed the A’s with a five-hitter, Vargas departed with two outs in the seventh and a 2-1 lead. The left-hander struck out six and walked one.

David DeJesus had a run-scoring grounder in the third, but Vargas responded by retiring 12 of the next 14 hitters.

Oakland tied it 2-2 in the eighth. Coco Crisp reached on an infield single off Ray and moved to second on Barton’s third hit of the night. He then stole third before scoring on Josh Willingham’s single.

NOTES: A’s closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) had another pain-free throwing session from 120 feet but the team isn’t certain when he’ll return from the disabled list. "All the news has been very, very encouraging," manager Bob Geren said. "Everything has been either right on or even above our expectations." Bailey and RHP Rich Harden (strained lat muscle), who is also on the DL, will accompany the team on its road trip beginning Tuesday at Toronto. … Oakland C Kurt Suzuki was back in the lineup after leaving Friday’s game with a sprained left ankle following a mild collision with Seattle’s Miguel Olivo. Suzuki went 1-for-4. … Figgins was almost hit by Cust’s foul liner in the top of the first and had to fall on his back to avoid it. … Anderson had seven wins last season, three of them against the Mariners.

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