Notes: Rare day out of lineup for Ichiro

Notes: Ichiro gets rare day off

SEATTLE -- The last time Ichiro Suzuki wasn't in the starting lineup, he treated himself to a relaxing day of sipping coffee, eating pizza and a shopping excursion while the team was in Southern California.

On Tuesday, Ichiro got his only other start of the season off after he was hit behind his left shoulder by a ball on a wayward pickoff attempt in Monday's victory over the A's.

And while the Mariners' center fielder didn't exactly treat himself to such indulgences as coffee, pizza and shopping, he had little trouble finding ways to relax knowing he wasn't going to start Tuesday.

"It's Seattle, so I'm always relaxed," Ichiro said before Tuesday's game. "... It's my home."

Ichiro was hit on the shoulder minutes before he scored the winning run in the 10th inning on Monday.

Ichiro opened the 10th inning with an infield single -- his fifth hit of the game -- off A's reliever Kiko Calero. He then moved to second base when Calero hit him in the shoulder with a pickoff attempt.

Ichiro was in visible pain, and he was attended to by the team trainers. But he remained in the game and later scored the winning run on Willie Bloomquist's RBI single.

Ichiro was informed following the game that he wouldn't start on Tuesday against the A's.

"The trainers told the manager the situation and the manager made the decision," he said. "It's not my job to make those decisions."

The last time Ichiro didn't start was on Aug. 18 in Anaheim against the Angels, which put his streak of 360 consecutive games in jeopardy and ended his string of 209 consecutive starts. He ended up pinch-hitting in the eighth inning of that game.

He has played in 396 in a row going into Tuesday's game. Manager Mike Hargrove wouldn't rule out having Ichiro enter the game if needed.

"We're just giving him a day," Hargrove said. "He got banged up a little."

Ichiro is the only Mariner to have appeared in every game this season heading into Tuesday night's No. 158. The next closest is Raul Ibanez with 154 games going into Tuesday. Richie Sexson is next with 153 games.

Bouncing back: After allowing eight earned runs over his first 3 1/3 innings in the Major Leagues, Francisco Cruceta experienced something of a breakthrough during Monday's victory over the A's.

Cruceta tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with one walk and getting two strikeouts. He teamed with George Sherrill and J.J. Putz to hold the A's scoreless in the final 5 2/3 innings.

"He gave a 1-0 hit to [Mark] Kotsay that drove in a run and shut them down," Hargrove said. "He did a great job."

Hargrove was then asked if Cruceta's strong outing on Monday essentially made up for the five runs he allowed during the first inning of his Major League starting debut Sept. 15 against Kansas City.

"His one appearance last night certainly gets him another one," Hargrove said. "It's easier to make that call."

Done streakin': While pleased the Mariners ended their vexing 15-game losing streak against the A's on Monday, Hargrove didn't place any special importance on the victory.

"When a streak gets to that stage, it goes from stupid to ridiculous," he said. "It's a matter of time before something like that ends. We needed to win last night, even if we had lost 100 in a row to them. We're trying to win as many games as we can."

Before Monday, the last time the Mariners had defeated the A's was on April 6 at Safeco Field.

"The history of the way the A's have played us this year, it's a tough battle," Hargrove said. "Losing 15 games in a row to the A's, I don't like that. But every day is a new opportunity to stop or start something."

Pain in the back: Catcher Kenji Johjima didn't start Tuesday's game against the A's because of a mild back spasm.

Johjima singled in the ninth inning on Monday and left the game for pinch-runner Adam Jones. Johjima was then replaced by reserve catcher Rene Rivera, who started on Tuesday.

"It's still bothering him," Hargrove said. "Hopefully during the game he'll be available to catch or pinch-hit."

Johjima hit just .227 (10-for-44) on the team's recently completed 11-game road trip to Kansas City, Texas and Chicago but had two hits on Monday.

Mariners log: The Mariners had a season-high 21 hits on Monday, surpassing the 19 hits they had against Minnesota on May 1. ... Sexson moved into a tie for fifth place on the Safeco Field home run list on Monday. His 39th home run equals the number of home runs Alex Rodriguez hit at Safeco Field. The all-time lead is Bret Boone with 62. ... Ichiro's five-hit game Monday was the fifth of his career. ... His 217 hits are the fifth-highest total in franchise history. He now trails his own performances in 2001 (242 hits) and 2004 (262).

On deck: Seattle plays the finale of their three-game series against the A's on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. PT. Mariners right-hander Gil Meche (11-8, 4.48 ERA) faces Oakland lefty Barry Zito (16-9, 3.89).

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.