for this game

Hernandez, Mariners hand Pirates another loss

Jun 22, 2007 - 5:59 AM SEATTLE (Ticker)-- For the second consecutive night, a dominant outing by a struggling starter helped the Seattle Mariners get back on track after a six-game losing streak.

Felix Hernandez scattered six hits and Jose Lopez doubled in a pair of runs as the Mariners shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0, for the second consecutive time Thursday night.

Hernandez (4-4), who was 1-3 with a 5.97 ERA since coming off the disabled list May 15 with an elbow strain, earned his first win since May 25 after two losses and two no-decisions.

The 21-year-old ace struck out nine and issued just one walk in eight scoreless frames. He threw 71 of his 107 pitches for strikes.

"I needed a game like this so things will be better for my next start," Hernandez said. "I was in command of everything, like the first two games of the season."

Hernandez had started the year 2-0 and pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings before leaving his third start in the first inning with a sore elbow.

J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save in 20 chances this season. The 30-year-old righthander owns the longest consecutive saves streak in the majors.

The Pirates managed to get only one runner as far as third base, stretching their string of scoreless innings to 20.

Hernandez followed the much-maligned Jeff Weaver, who was the hero in Wednesday's game. Weaver earned his first win of the season following six consecutive losses to start the season, after signing a one-year contract worth over $8 million.

"With Jeff's history with this club, last night's game was probably a little more important," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "Getting Felix back to throwing the way Felix can is important, don't get me wrong. But, you knew eventually Felix would get there. It just needed to be sooner rather than later."

Righthander John Van Benschoten (0-2), who was making his second start, limited the Mariners to just three hits through the first four innings before Seattle broke through for three runs in the fifth.

"I felt very good about the outing by Van Benschoten," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "It was only five innings, but it was very competitive."

Van Benschoten, who was returning to the major leagues for the first time since 2004, was called up from AAA Indianapolis last Friday where he was 6-4 in 12 starts with a 2.73 ERA.

Richie Sexson led off the fifth with a walk and took second on Yuniesky Betancourt's one-out single. Ichiro Suzuki, who had doubled in the third to extend his major league-leading hitting streak to 16 games, singled in the first run and Lopez followed with a two-run double to left for a 3-0 advantage.

"We were going through a tough time for this team," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "So, yesterday's performance by Weaver and today's performance by Felix were very big."

The Pirates wasted several early scoring opportunities, stranding runners at second base in the third and fourth innings and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.

"He (Fernandez) just had it," Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "He was throwing three pitches it seemed like wherever he wanted to."

Xavier Nady and Jose Castillo each singled and Jose Bautista drew a two-out walk in the fifth. But Nate McLouth was caught looking at strike three to end the threat.

"If you can't score, you don't have a chance to win," said Tracy, whose team had won three of its previous four series.

The Mariners accomplished consecutive shutouts for the first time since June 11-12, 2004, against the Montreal Expos.








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 x 3 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PIT - JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN, MASUMI KUWATA (6TH), JONAH BAYLISS (8TH)
    AND RYAN DOUMIT
    SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ, J.J. PUTZ (9TH) AND KENJI
    JOHJIMA

    HOME RUNS: PIT - NON

    Jun 22 12:26 AM


  • ML
    AT SEATTLE - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOSE LOPEZ SCORED YUNIESKY BETANCOURT AND ICHIRO
    SUZUKI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J LOPEZ ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 0
    SEATTLE 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: R IBANEZ (.280, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates vs. MarinersJun 21 11:29 PM


  • ML
    AT SEATTLE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ICHIRO SUZUKI SCORED RICHIE SEXSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I SUZUKI ON FIRST, Y BETANCOURT ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 0
    SEATTLE 1 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: J LOPEZ (.277, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates vs. MarinersJun 21 11:27 PM