If he can duplicate the performance he turned in against the San Diego Padres last week, he should have little trouble reaching that goal.
The 24-year-old right-hander threw one his best games of the season on Friday, taking a no-hitter into the fifth and eventually allowing two runs and four hits over 7 2-3 innings in an 8-2 victory.
“I had my best stuff, except the curveball wasn’t there,” said Pineiro, who is 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA in his last six starts. “But the fastball was there, so I went with it all day.”
Pineiro has pitched into the eighth inning in his last four starts and six of his last seven. For the first time in 16 outings on Friday, he did not allow a baserunner in the first inning.
“Joel was fantastic tonight,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “I just gave him a little pat and said, ‘Way to go.’ He was still hitting 96 on the gun.”
Pineiro hopes his fastball is there again as he tries to help the Mariners avoid losing for the fourth time in their last five.
After taking Monday’s series opener 3-1, the Mariners fell 3-2 in 11 innings on Tuesday. Pinch-hitter Terrence Long hit a game-tying single and scored the winning run on Jermaine Dye’s sacrifice fly, leading the A’s to their third win in four games.
Dye was back in the lineup after missing seven of the last eight with a nagging knee injury, and his sacrifice fly helped the A’s move within six games of the first-place Mariners in the AL West.
With the win, the A’s improved to 29-12 at home—the best mark in the majors.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 6 GB, AL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Pineiro (8-5, 3.67 ERA). Pineiro is 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA in eight career games against the A’s.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Ted Lilly (5-6, 4.83 ERA). Lilly has struggled in recent outings, allowing at least five earned runs in three of his last four starts. On Friday, he worked 6 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits in a 6-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants. The 27-year-old lefty is 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA in eight career games against Seattle.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .342 avg. and 21 SBs; Bret Boone, 22 HRs, 67 RBIs and 61 runs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .328 avg., 50 runs and 7 SBs; Eric Chavez, 16 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 55 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 5-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - 2B Boone is batting .444 (8-for-18) in his career against LHP Lilly. … 1B John Olerud did not play Tuesday after straining his right hamstring on Monday. He is day-to-day, but is expected to miss at least one more game. … The Mariners have gone 32 games without allowing an unearned run. Athletics - RF Long is hitless in 11 career at-bats against RHP Pineiro. … CF Byrnes went 0-for-5 Tuesday, snapping his 13-game hitting streak. … Oakland pitchers lead the AL with seven balks. They had just nine all of last season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 29-12 on the road; Athletics - 29-12 at home.