CLEVELAND (AP) – Ichiro Suzuki’s two-run homer in the eighth inning – only Seattle’s third hit off Scott Elarton – sent the Mariners to a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

Suzuki’s seventh homer bailed out Seattle starter Jamie Moyer, who was six outs away from losing to Cleveland for the first time since 2000, but got a no-decision. Moyer is 9-0 in his last 12 starts against the Indians.

Elarton (6-5) allowed just two hits through seven innings and carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth when he walked pinch-hitter Chris Snelling leading off. With the left-handed Suzuki coming up, Indians manager Eric Wedge had lefties Scott Sauerbeck and Arthur Rhodes warming up in the bullpen.

But after sending pitching coach Carl Willis out to visit the right-hander, Wedge decided to stick with Elarton, and it was a mistake. Elarton made Suzuki look bad on his first pitch, a sinker in the dirt, but he grooved a fastball and Suzuki made him pay, giving the Mariners a 4-3 lead.

J.J. Putz (3-3) worked two innings, wiggling out of a mess in the eighth when the Indians had two on and no outs.

Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre got the first out when he charged and snagged Ronnie Belliard’s hard bunt, throwing to third for a force. Aaron Boone then lined out to first baseman Richie Sexon, who dived back to tag out Belliard scrambling back to the bag.

Eddie Guardado gave up a two-out walk and single in the ninth before striking out Casey Blake for his 22nd save in 23 tries.

Belliard hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Cleveland, which will play the last-place Mariners six times in the next nine games. Belliard’s ninth homer, his first in 121 at-bats, gave the Indians a 3-1 lead.

Moyer needed 115 pitches to get through six innings. He allowed three runs and eight hits, walked four and struck out three. Cleveland’s hitters were patient but didn’t do quite enough against the slow-throwing left-hander to get their first victory against him since Aug. 19, 2000.

The Indians had Moyer in trouble in the first two innings, but scored just once while stranding five runners.

Cleveland was again without designated hitter Travis Hafner, who missed his sixth straight game since getting hit in the face with a pitch from Chicago’s Mark Buehrle last Saturday.

Hafner is still experiencing dizziness and headaches, and could be headed for the disabled list.

Notes: Since 2002, the Indians are 144-148 at Jacobs Field. By comparison, in their first three years at the Jake, the club went 140-63 (.690). … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Moyer and Pat Borders are the only 42-year-olds in baseball history to form a starting battery. Research back to 1960 shows that the pair are the third-oldest battery behind Phil Neikro (48) and Rick Dempsey (37) in 1987, and Satchel Paige (59) and Bill Bryan (26) in 1965. … The Mariners will play their next 18 games against AL Central teams.

AP-ES-07-22-05 2203EDT


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