SEATTLE (AP) - Ichiro Suzuki finally spoke about a season that didn't match what he accomplished in his first decade in the majors.
The Seattle Mariners star decided he wasn't the one to give an analysis of his season.
``I'll leave it to you guys,' he said through his interpreter. ``You are the professionals at evaluating.'
Suzuki and the Mariners closed out another downtrodden season Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. It was fitting that the team which struggled so much at the plate finished the season with consecutive games of being shut out and going scoreless in their final 20 innings of the regular season.
The Mariners were shut out for a franchise record 16th time and their final .233 batting average was the lowest in franchise history.
Suzuki was the focal point of many of the struggles, but mostly because of how impressive his first 10 seasons were. For the first time in his career, Suzuki failed to reach 200 hits - finishing with 184 - and hit a career-worst .272. Other numbers were lower too, including on-base percentage, infield hits and home runs, while he struck out a career-high 69 times.
Suzuki rarely talked during the season about any of his struggles.
``It's a little strange because this year I never mentioned anything about 200 ... ever, during the season or in spring training, nor did I mention it during last year,' he said.
Suzuki has one year left on his current contract with the Mariners and will get a chance to open the 2012 season in his native country after it was announced Wednesday that the Mariners and A's would open the season with two games in Tokyo.
Suzuki said it was too soon to speak about playing in his home country. The Mariners and A's were supposed to open the 2003 season in Japan, but that trip was canceled at the last minute because of the war in Iraq.
``We just heard about that today. It's hard to think about how to look forward to that because we just finished our season now and we have a lot of time till that day so you want to prepare,' Suzuki said. ``I'm not ready to say anything about Japan at this point.'
Oakland left-hander Gio Gonzalez could be starting one of those games for the A's after finishing 2011 on a roll.
Gonzalez threw eight shutout innings and gave up just two hits. He gave up one hit through six innings, a liner into right field by Chris Gimenez leading off the third inning. After following Gimenez's single with a walk to Suzuki, Gonzalez retired 11 of the next 12 batters. He struck out the side in the sixth and matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts.
Seattle's other hit was Alex Liddi's two-out double in the seventh that center fielder Coco Crisp nearly snagged with a diving backhand attempt.
``I think he realizes now he has to set the bar a little bit higher for himself and take another step next year and try to win 20 games or raise the bar every year,' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Gonzalez. ``The command gets better, the stuff gets better and as you can see his confidence gets better.'
Gonzalez won his final four starts and seven of his final eight to top the 15 wins he had in his rookie season of 2010.
Gonzalez walked three batters. He had at least one strikeout in six of his eight innings and finished the season with a 3.12 ERA in 32 starts.
Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 26 chances.
``He had great stuff tonight,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``It is what it is, we never got anything going.'
Jai Miller homered to right-center field in the second inning off Seattle starter Anthony Vasquez (1-6) who lasted just two innings. Vasquez was one of six Seattle pitchers in the finale. After Vasquez, Seattle's bullpen combined to give up three hits and no runs over the final seven innings.
NOTES: Seattle finished the season with a crowd of 20,173. The Mariners unofficial season total was 1,896,929 in 81 home games. It's the first time since moving into Safeco Field the Mariners have failed to draw 2 million fans. The last time Seattle was under 2 million in a full 81-game home schedule was 1989. ... Gonzalez became the first A's pitcher to win five games in a month since July 2005 when Barry Zito won six and Rich Harden won five. Gonzalez was 5-1 in September. ... Seattle's previous record of 15 shutouts was set in 1978, 1983, 1990 and 2010. ... In one of the stranger pitching lines, Vasquez finished the season with 13 home runs allowed and 13 strikeouts in 29 1-3 innings.
The Associated Press News Service
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