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Ichiro heats up as Gutierrez hits skid

Ichiro heats up as Gutierrez hits skid

SEATTLE -- Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki has found his groove offensively, going 10-for-20 in the Mariners' last four games to raise his average to .344. In Friday's 2-0 loss to the Rangers, he posted his second straight 3-for-5 game.

"One thing he did in Kansas City, and started in Chicago, was he bunted a couple of times, got some infield singles, and that gives him a little more breathing room to swing the bat a little more aggressively," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He just has so many weapons. That's why you don't worry about him."

Ichiro now leads the team in batting average, as the previous leader, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, has gone hitless in his last 11 at-bats and struck out seven times in two games. That stint has dropped his batting average from .371 to .326, and Wakamatsu attributes the skid to Gutierrez trying to do too much at the plate.

"He's basically been our most consistent player," Wakamatsu said. "When you go 11 or 12 innings, and no one else is hitting, he wants to end the game with one swing. That's immaturity."

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