Mariners 13, Athletics 0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Joel Pineiro desperately wanted to give his tired bullpen a break, and he did pretty well for himself in the process.
“I told myself ‘I’ve got to go nine tonight and give the guys a rest,”’ Pineiro said, speaking of the relief staff that is competing without injured closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. “The weather’s heating up a little bit and I’m feeling stronger. My command was there.”
Bret Boone had two hits and drove in two runs and Dan Wilson went 4-for-5. Mike Cameron drove in three runs and Edgar Martinez hit a two-run homer and scored three runs to help Seattle build a seven-game lead in the AL West heading into the final meeting of this four-game set.
Every Seattle player had at least one hit and all but Greg Colbrunn scored a run.
“We don’t sit here and judge how convincingly we beat someone,” Cameron said. “Whether the score is six, seven, 20 or whatever it is, it was convincing.”
The Mariners, who lost 3-2 in 11 innings Tuesday, have won five of the last six series against the A’s. Seattle’s 20 hits matched a season high also established May 27 at Kansas City.
Pineiro (9-5) didn’t allow a hit until Ramon Hernandez’s one-out double in the fourth. After giving up a walk to Scott Hatteberg in the second, Pineiro retired 13 of the next 15 batters before Mark Ellis hit a leadoff single in the eighth. And he got plenty of run support early, which didn’t happen for Gil Meche a night earlier.
Pineiro struck out six and walked three. Only one runner got past second and two runners got past first. He had only six outfield outs.
With his pitch count at a season-high 123, Pineiro was replaced by Julio Mateo for the ninth inning.
Manager Bob Melvin had considered pulling Pineiro after seven, but the pitcher wouldn’t hear of it.
“He’s on a roll,” Melvin said. “It was a cool night out there and it doesn’t tax you too much. Most of the game he could make his pitch without having to really grind. He wanted to go back out there.”
Martinez connected on a 2-0 pitch from John Halama in the eighth for his 16th home run of the season, sending the ball deep into the left-field bleachers.
Ted Lilly (5-7) fell behind immediately with a rocky first inning in which he gave up three walks and was tagged for three hits and two runs.
Boone had an RBI double and Cameron drove in a run with a one-out single. Boone added a run-scoring single in the second as Seattle went ahead 3-0. Lilly was booed during the first and second innings before settling down.
He then received plenty of cheers after striking out the side in the fourth to start a spurt of five straight strikeouts. Lilly’s fastball had been topping out around 88 mph in the early innings but he increased his velocity to around 92 mph, which made a slight difference in his effectiveness.
“We’re trying to figure it out,” manager Ken Macha said of Lilly’s inconsistency. “We’ve been trying a bunch of things with him. It’s a mystery when you have that kind of stuff and what you’re getting out of it doesn’t add up.”
Lilly loaded the bases in the fifth when he hit Ichiro Suzuki just below the right knee. The star right fielder was on the ground for a couple of minutes and trainer Rick Griffin came out to attend to him before Suzuki slowly went to first. Lilly then walked Randy Winn to bring in a run.
Lilly fell to 0-4 in seven starts against the Mariners, including his loss in a complete-game, one-hitter in April 2002, at Safeco Field while with the New York Yankees.
The left-hander made 109 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, allowing a career-high 10 hits and five runs while striking out nine and walking four. Lilly has a 6.89 ERA against Seattle.
“The toughest thing about this is getting pulled in the fifth inning and making the bullpen work,” Lilly said. “I have to try and find ways to turn this thing around. I expect myself to be more competitive than I am.”
The Mariners’ bullpen has lost only four games this year—Tuesday was oneof those—and Seattle has come back to win the next game each time.
Seattle 1B John Olerud was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game with a strained right hamstring. … Pineiro improved to 4-1 vs. Oakland. … The Mariners have gone 33 games without allowing an unearned run. … The 20 hits allowed by the A’s were a season high while the 13 runs matched a season high. … The spot where Suzuki was hit was bruised and swollen after the game. He was unsure whether he’d be in the lineup Thursday. Suzuki stayedin the game because Seattle’s bench is so beat up.