Raul Ibañez doesn’t quite roll his eyes at the question, he’s a little too old for that. But when people ask him if he feels 41 years old – a question he hears too often – he has the same reply.
“I don’t how what 41 is supposed to feel like,” he said. “I don’t even think about it. So I guess I don’t know what that means.”
He certainly isn’t playing like a 41-year-old.
The veteran left-handed hitter continues to pummel Father Time with his bat.
Ibañez hit two home runs off Oakland Athletics starter Jarrod Parker to provide all of the Mariners’ early offense in a 6-3 extra-inning win on Sunday at Safeco Field.
He leads the Mariners in home runs with 17 and RBI with 42 in 56 games. Last season, Ibañez had 19 homers and 62 RBI in 130 games with Yankees.
“He had something to do with the win today, that’s for sure,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Ibañez jumped all over a 94 mph fastball from Parker in the first inning, blasting it into right field for a two-run homer.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball on the barrel and it’s working out,” he said. “I’m not trying to do too much. I got a couple balls in the air and they went out.”
Parker tried something different with Ibañez in the fourth inning, going with the breaking ball instead.
But Ibañez went down and got a 3-2 curveball, driving it over the wall in right-center field.
“You can’t stay through a pitch any better than he did,” Wedge said. “To stay through that pitch, and drive it – that’s about as good as it gets.”
It was the 18th time in his career Ibañez has hit multiple home runs in a game and the second time this season. He hit two against the Yankees on May 15 at Yankee Stadium.
“The first one I don’t know if we got it inside far enough and the second one looked like it was a good pitch down,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He just went down and golfed it, so he’s seeing the ball pretty well.”
With the two homers, Ibañez passed Bret Boone (143) to move into sixth place on the Mariners’ all-time home run list with 144. Alvin Davis is next with 160 homers.
GUTIERREZ INJURED AGAIN
Just over 48 hours after he was activated from the disabled list and proclaimed himself feeling normal, Franklin Gutierrez was in pain again.
The oft-injured Mariners outfielder was forced to leave Sunday’s game in the sixth inning. His legs tightened up after he made a leaping catch and crashed into the wall in the fourth inning.
“We’ll see how he feels in a couple of days,” Wedge said. “This is not what we wanted, that’s for sure.”
Oliver Perez, who pitched two scoreless innings to get the win, has not allowed a run in his past 13 outings, totaling 11 innings. His earned-run average dropped from 1.05 to 0.98. Rookie catcher Mike Zunino had his first multi-hit game, going 2-for-3. He raised his average to .214. Jeremy Bonderman has allowed a combined four runs in his past four starts, and is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA over that span. He had his streak of 18 scoreless innings at Safeco Field snapped in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. With his first inning single, Endy Chavez has hits in 17 of his past 19 games. He is hitting .303 (23-for-76) over that time.
The Mariners are off Monday. Several players will participate in the team’s charity golf tournament at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. They return to action Tuesday when they play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates to start a two-game series.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners