Mariners-Pirates Preview

After getting hit hard in his first three starts, Aaron Harang

earned the win with an impressive showing his last time out.

He’s piled up his fair share of victories against the Pittsburgh

Pirates over the course of his career.

Looking to win a sixth consecutive start at PNC Park, Harang

faces a familiar foe Tuesday night as the Seattle Mariners open a

two-game set against the Pirates.

Acquired from Colorado on April 11, Harang (1-3, 8.68 ERA)

compiled an 11.37 ERA in losing his first three outings. The

right-hander, though, showed signs of coming around Wednesday

versus Baltimore, scattering four hits over six innings of two-run

ball in an 8-3 win.

“He’s got too good a track record not to be better than his

numbers so far,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He will

pitch well.”

Now in his 12th season in the majors, Harang credits his first

quality start to a change in his mechanics.

“We did some towel drill work,” he told MLB’s official website.

“Sometimes, it all goes back to stuff we were taught when we were

seven, eight years old. People think (mechanical changes) are

something huge, a big deal. It’s something usually so minor and

basic that no one looks at it. Sometimes you go right back to the

basics of throwing.”

Harang surely is feeling good about his chances of building on

his latest outing against the Pirates (17-14). Having spent the

majority of his career in the NL, Harang is 15-6 lifetime versus

Pittsburgh – his most wins against opponent. He’s posted a 3.16 ERA

during his five-start winning streak at PNC Park.

The Mariners (15-18) had won three straight and six of seven

before falling 10-2 at Toronto on Sunday. Michael Morse, Jason Bay,

Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, the team’s Nos. 4-7 hitters, went a

combined 0 for 13 as Seattle was limited to a season-low three

hits.

“We struggled a little bit, but we have to separate from it,”

manager Eric Wedge said. “We are in the business of trying to win

series. We won our series here and now we have to be ready to go to

work in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.”

The Mariners are 5-1 against the Pirates and 3-0 in Pittsburgh.

The two clubs haven’t met since 2007, though.

The Pirates are coming off their first back-to-back home losses,

falling 6-2 in Sunday’s series finale versus Washington. Starling

Marte led off the bottom of the first with his fourth homer in five

games but Pittsburgh went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring

position.

After Marte went deep, the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs

but couldn’t come through.

“Bunch of guys on real fast … we’ve got to take advantage of

that,” catcher Michael McKenry said.

Pittsburgh was set to try to bounce back behind James McDonald,

but it scratched the right-hander and put him on the disabled list

Tuesday afternoon with stiffness in his right shoulder. McDonald

had a 7.13 ERA in his previous four starts.

Instead, the Pirates will turn to Jeanmar Gomez (1-0, 3.06), who

allowed three runs and four hits – two homers – in four innings in

a spot start Wednesday at Milwaukee. Gomez faced the Mariners once

in 2010 with Cleveland, giving up two runs over six frames.

Robert Andino and Kendrys Morales are the only two Mariners to

have hits off Gomez, but Bay – the face of the Pirates’ franchise

from 2004-08 – has never faced the righty. While Bay’s seven-game

hitting streak was snapped Sunday, he’s batting .370 with two

homers and seven RBIs over his last eight contests.

Bay is hitting .143 in six matchups against his former club.