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Norihiro Nakamura hit his third homer of the preseason to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 9-8 extra-inning victory over the Houston Astros while Ichiro Suzuki stretched his hitting streak in the Seattle Mariners’ 5-3 defeat to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

News photoKazuo Matsui sets off for first base during Wednesday’s exhibition game between the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

In Kissimmee, Fla., former Kintetsu Buffaloes slugger Nakamura, who is vying for a spot on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, came on as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and hit a two-run homer in the 10th for the game-winner.

In Peoria, Ariz., Ichiro ground out twice before he singled in the last of his three at-bats in the sixth inning, ensuring that he extended his streak to 19 games. The Mariners have three games left to play before they open the regular season at home on April 4.

In the same game, Mariners teammate Shigetoshi Hasegawa worked a scoreless seventh with one strikeout. Hasegawa gave up a run in an inning of relief in a minor-league game on Tuesday.

In Port St. Lucie, Fla., Kazuo Matsui went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the sixth but the New York Mets were beaten 3-2 by the Florida Marlins while Tadahito Iguchi went 1-for-3 in the Chicago White Sox 14-0 drubbing of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tuscon, Ariz.

In Fort Myers, Fla., Denney Tomori came on in the seventh and yielded just two hits as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-4.

So Taguchi failed to get a hit in two at-bats in the St. Louis Cardinals’ game against the Baltimore Orioles which finished in a 5-5 tie.

BoSox ship Kim

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) The Boston Red Sox traded reliever Byung Hyun Kim to the Colorado Rockies, calling the $10 million, two-year deal they gave him in 2004 “a mistake.”

Kim was sent Wednesday to the Rockies for left-handed pitcher Chris Narveson, 23, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and catcher Charles Johnson, who was immediately designated for assignment and released.

As part of the trade, Colorado sent Boston about $2.6 million to equalize the salaries. Johnson is owed $9 million and Kim $6 million, part of a $10 million, two-year deal he signed before the 2004 season.

“We certainly made a mistake and I take responsibility for that,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “It’s just a mystery what happened to this guy.”

Kim, a 26-year-old sidearmer, was a major factor in Boston reaching the 2003 playoffs, but Epstein said Wednesday he should have let Kim get a one-year contract through arbitration rather than sign him to a two-year deal.

“I’m not so sure (success) would have happened to him in Boston,” he said. “He was crying for a change of scenery.”

Epstein said Kim, when informed of the trade, apologized for not doing better.

Kim will likely have a chance to take over as a closer in Colorado’s hurting bullpen. The favorite to close this season, Chin-hui Tsao, has rotator cuff tendinitis and has not impressed manager Clint Hurdle this spring training. Left-hander Brian Fuentes, who was also in the mix, also has struggled.

Last year’s closer, Shawn Chacon, moved back to the starting rotation this season after blowing nine saves and anchoring a bullpen that set a major-league record with 39 losses.

The departure of Johnson, meanwhile, was expected. The 33-year-old, four-time Gold Glove winner was not in Colorado’s plans for this season.

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