Mariners 8, Angels 3
Raul Ibanez is close to matching a record held by Ted Williams.
The 41-year-old Seattle Mariners slugger says that is where the similarities end.
''My career should not be mentioned in the same breath as Ted Williams,'' he said after homering twice in the Mariners' 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Ibanez's two shots gave him 24 this season, that is the fourth most by a 41-year-old player and five shy of Williams' record of 29 set in 1960 - his final season with Boston.
''I did look at his season at 41 a few years back as inspiration as to see if guys back then could still do it late in their careers,'' Ibanez said. ''I knew that he had 29 home runs.''
The Mariners overall have been a home-run tear. Kyle Seager and Kendrys Morales joined Ibanez with home runs, and Seattle broke the franchise record by homering for a 20th consecutive game.
The Mariners did it in 19 straight from Sept. 7-27, 1999. The major league record is 27 set by Texas in 2002.
Ibanez wasn't targeting Williams when he started this season. After signing a one-year deal in the offseason for a third stint with the Mariners, he never expected to play in 71 of the team's first 93 games.
He anticipated being used primarily against right-handers, but injuries to teammates and his consistent hitting have built up his workload.
''What hasn't he done,'' said Joe Saunders (8-8), who went seven innings to earn the victory. ''From my perspective, it's fun to be part of. To see what he's doing day in and day out, it's impressive.
''I'm privileged just to be his teammate. He's that kind of guy. I just hope he can keep it going. He's the heart and soul of this ball club, really, the way he goes about preparing, the teammate he is, the leader he is.''
Ibanez had a fourth-inning blast 438 feet into the right-field second deck - his longest of the season - and a 421-foot shot to center in the seventh. It was his 19th career multiple home run game - third this season. He has 150 home runs with the Mariners.
''That means a lot,'' Ibanez said of the milestone. ''I learned to play that game here. I learned the Mariner way, to respect the game, to play hard and do it the right way.''
Ibanez, who also had an RBI double in the first, has 34 home runs since turning 40 on June 2, 2012. He hit only 28 home runs in 371 games before that birthday.
''I don't care what number is next to his age,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, ''Right now his bat speed is terrific and his swing looks good.
''Against us especially, he's not missing too many fastballs. If you put it in his spot, he's not missing it.''
Saunders allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five. He is 5-3 with a 2.37 in his last nine starts. In 17 career starts at Safeco Field, he is 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA.
''Just like the last time he pitched against us (a complete-game 1-0 loss), he had good stuff,'' Scioscia said. ''His velocity is bouncing back from where it was the last couple years. He threw strikes, pitched ahead in the count, and it kept us off balance. He pitched a good game for those guys.''
Jerome Williams (5-5), who lasted just 3 1-3 innings, gave up six runs and seven hits. He entered 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA in 10 career appearances against Seattle.
''I'm getting behind in the count and have to leave a pitch over the middle of the plate and get hit,'' Williams said. ''I've got to control counts better.''
The Angels had back-to-back doubles in the second, but didn't score.
Mark Trumbo hit a one-out double into the right-center gap. Alberto Callaspo then lofted a ball down the right-field line that landed in front of three fielders and just inside the line. Trumbo had to hold up, and couldn't score. Saunders struck out the next two batters.
''It's definitely nice to come up and get those big strikeouts there,'' Saunders said, ''and get us back in the dugout with a little bit of momentum.''
Seager opened the second with a homer to right, his 15th. That extended his hitting streak to 12 games, his third double-digit run this season.
Ibanez started the Mariners' four-run fourth with his first homer of the night.
Mike Zunino, who had a career-high three hits, and Dustin Ackley had RBI singles in the fourth. Another run scored on Garrett Richards' wild pitch.
Richards gave up Ibanez's two-out shot in the seventh. On the next pitch, Morales homered over the center-field wall, his 14th of the season. The Mariners have hit back-to-back homers six times this season, with five started by Ibanez.
''He's having a special year, he's a special player, he's a special person,'' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ''He's the same guy every day, on and off the field. He prepares as well as anybody, if not more so than that.''
With Saunders gone, the Angels had a three-run eighth off three relievers. Mike Trout had a RBI triple, Albert Pujols had a RBI single, and Trumbo added an RBI.
NOTES: The Mariners sent RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who started Thursday, to Class A Everett and RHP Blake Beavan to Triple-A Tacoma. LHP Bobby LaFromboise and RHP Hector Noesi were recalled. The club wants to keep Ramirez in rotation during the All-Star break. Seattle also wants Beavan to establish a starting role. It is LaFromboise's second stint with the Mariners and Noesi's third. ... Los Angeles RHP Tommy Hanson (right forearm strain) will throw a simulated game Saturday. Three other pitchers, RHP Ryan Madson (right elbow), LHP Sean Burnett (left elbow impingement), and LHP Jason Vargas (blood clot) are throwing but not close to returning.