Mariners 2, Athletics 1
Josh Bard got his first chance to catch Michael Pineda since
spring training and saw what the rest of baseball has been seeing
from Seattle’s overpowering rookie the first half of the year.
Pineda and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and Bard
hit his first home run of the season to lead the Mariners to a 2-1
victory over the Athletics on Monday.
”He’s really maturing,” said Bard, who came up from the minors
last week. ”He’s becoming that big horse, inning-eater guy that we
need him to be. We talked to him hard today, making sure he came
out ready to pitch in the first inning. Sometimes he gets caught
pacing himself a little bit. He did a great job doing that.”
Justin Smoak added a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh
inning for the Mariners, who got their first back-to-back wins
since June 2-3 against Tampa Bay.
The strong start by Pineda (8-5) helped spoil the return of
Brandon McCarthy (1-5) from the disabled list for Oakland. McCarthy
faced the minimum batters through 5 2-3 innings but ended up losing
his fifth straight decision. He gave up two runs and four hits in 6
2-3 innings and is 0-5 in his last eight starts despite having six
quality starts in that span.
This matchup between the two lowest scoring teams in the
American League figured to be dominated by the pitching.
Pineda gave up one run that was aided by a popup lost in the
sun, allowed just two hits and struck out seven in six innings. He
allowed just one baserunner in his final four innings, retiring 12
of the final 13 batters he faced, to win for just the second time
in his last eight starts.
”He looked like a very mature pitcher out there today,”
manager Eric Wedge said. ”He’s looked like that all year long. As
the year has progressed, you’ve seen him do some things you love a
pitcher to do.”
Aaron Laffey, David Pauley and Brandon League each pitched one
scoreless inning of relief with League getting his 23rd save in 26
McCarthy, who had been out since May 19 with a right shoulder
injury, was sharp from the start. He struck out two batters in a
10-pitch first inning, whiffed four of the first six hitters
overall and retired the first nine batters on 34 pitches. But he
wore down a bit after that.
Conor Jackson made a leaping grab in front of the left-field
fence in the fifth inning to start a double play and Seattle struck
for single runs in the sixth and seventh.
”I got tired pretty early, not having really gotten that high
in pitch counts,” McCarthy said. ”It was a little different. The
intensity was ramped up, but I was able to get through it and I
just kept battling. After the fifth I started to get a little
Bard’s two-out solo homer to right-center tied the game at 1 in
the sixth inning. It was only the second homer McCarthy has allowed
all season with Seattle’s Adam Kennedy getting the other in
Brendan Ryan then opened the seventh with a single and scored on
Smoak’s double into the right-field corner that proved to be enough
for the Mariners to win the series opener.
”Luckily Smoaky was able to get the head out and drive me in
there for that second run,” Ryan said. ”Still you can’t just
assume we’re going to not give up more than three hits every game.
We still need to put runs up on the board.”
The A’s did even less offensively, sending up three batters in
five of Pineda’s six innings. Oakland got some help from the sun to
score its only run in two games this season against the rookie.
Kennedy lost Hideki Matsui’s foul pop near third base in the sun
to open the second inning, giving Matsui a reprieve. He followed
with a sharp single to right field on the next pitch and later
scored on Kurt Suzuki’s two-out single to left.
The A’s didn’t get another hit off until after Pineda left the
game on Suzuki’s one-out single in the eighth inning off
”He’s got a great arm,” Suzuki said of Pineda. ”That fastball
just jumps on you. He doesn’t make it easy. He had his pitches
working, kept the ball down in the zone. He’s good. He’s young but
NOTES: Seattle has 20 come-from-behind wins, one behind Toronto
for most in the AL. … Mariners starters have allowed three runs
in their past 31 innings. … Seattle C Miguel Olivo sat out a
fifth straight game with a hamstring injury but is expected back in
the lineup during this series. … A’s reliever Grant Balfour will
throw a one-inning rehab assignment for Triple-A Sacramento on
Tuesday and is expected back from the DL this weekend in Texas. …
Oakland is a major league worst 12-19 in one-run games.