Ichiro, Boone lead M's to victory over Angels

The Mariners recipe for success? A sprinkle of Ichiro, a touch of Boone, and a dash of Franklin. The three-some helped Seattle win its third game in a row Tuesday, improving to a major league best 47-22.

Three pitches.

That's all it took for Seattle to get to long-time nemesis Kevin Appier, the Angels starting pitcher Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

Facing a 1-1 count in the first inning, Ichiro Suzuki turned around an Appier breaking ball at his eyes and sent it over the wall in right field for a quick 1-0 Mariners' lead.

It was the first of two solo homers for Ichiro, who went 4-4 on the night to lead Seattle to an 8-4 win over the Angels in front of a rowdy home crowd.

Seattle (47-22) held on to the title of "best record in the major leagues" with the win, and pushed it's lead to 12.5 over Anaheim (34-34). Oakland, which won it's fourth-consecutive game Tuesday, stayed 7.5 back of the Mariners.

In just two-and-a-half seasons in the United States, Ichiro already has 11 four-hit games.

But there was more to the M's story than their sweet-swinging rightfielder from Japan. As much as Ichiro did, Bret Boone was the guy who pushed the runs across.

With the M's ahead by a slim 2-1 margin in the fifth, Boone delivered. Facing a two-out, bases loaded situation, he swung at the first pitch he saw and sent a moon-shot over the left field fence for a grand slam.

It was his 19th long-ball of the season, and put the M's ahead comfortably at 6-1.

Meanwhile, Seattle starter Ryan Franklin did what the M's needed him to do. Ahead by five, he went right at the Angels batters.

The crafty right-hander allowed only six Anaheim hits, but four were of the long-ball variety.

Still, the Angels never were closer than 6-3, which occured in the sixth inning after solo homers by Darin Erstad and Garrett Anderson.

Brad Fullmer and Tim Salmon each also homered. All four Angels homeruns on the night were solo shots.

Franklin (6-4) went eight innings to earn his second-straight victory. His four homers allowed pushed him to 18 for the season, the most in the American League.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched a scoreless ninth.

Appier allowed five hits and six earned runs in six innings, dropping to 4-4 in the 2003 campaign.


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