Kaz Ishii has New York Mets manager Willie Randolph scratching his head.
The inconsistent left-hander will try to pick up his second victory of the season when the Mets open a three-game interleague series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
In last Friday’s 12-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Shea Stadium, Ishii pitched five near-flawless innings and struck out a season-high nine before fading badly in the sixth. He left the game after yielding five runs and six hits, including a pair homers, in 5 2-3 innings.
“It was kind of puzzling to have him go like that so quickly,” Randolph said. “Maybe the inning before took a lot out of him running the bases, I don’t know. I would hate to think that’s the case.”
Apparently, it wasn’t.
“Stamina wasn’t the problem,” Ishii said through an interpreter.
Since picking up his first win as a Met in a 6-1 victory at Florida on May 28, Ishii has been pounded for 11 runs and 16 hits over 11 2-3 innings during his two-start losing streak. He has yielded at least five runs in five of his starts this season, but one run or fewer in the other three.
The Mets ended a three-game losing streak and avoided their first series sweep this month with Thursday’s 9-6 victory at Oakland. Mike Piazza ended the longest homerless drought of his career with a solo shot and Carlos Beltran added a three-run shot as New York improved to 1-2 on its 12-game road trip.
Piazza hadn’t homered since May 9 at Wrigley Field, a stretch of 98 at-bats, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s been a while. I felt like I’ve been swinging the bat better the last 30 or 40 at-bats or so, but I’m still not driving the ball as well as I can,” Piazza said. “Carlos came up with a big home run. That kind of got us going.”
The Mariners’ bid for a three-game sweep of Philadelphia ended with a 3-2, 13-inning loss Thursday. Raul Ibanez homered for Seattle, which has lost four of its last six.