Mariners 6, Orioles 5
SEATTLE (AP)—Just because Joel Pineiro isn’t an All-Star doesn’t mean he hasn’t been pitching like one lately.
Pineiro won his fifth straight start and Ichiro Suzuki hit a leadoff homer to lead the Mariners over Baltimore 6-5 Tuesday night, the Orioles 15th loss in 16 games at Safeco Field.
Pineiro (10-5), unbeaten in five starts since June 11, joined Jamie Moyer (11-5) and Gil Meche (10-4) as the Mariners’ third 10-game winner. It’s the first time three Mariners reached 10 wins before the All-Star break.
Pineiro, who left with a 6-1 lead, gave up five hits and four walks in six innings, lowering his ERA to 3.32 despite a pitching hand that was bruised by Deivi Cruz’s fourth-inning liner.
Pineiro is expected to make his next scheduled start Sunday against Tampa Bay.
“It wasn’t hit that hard,” Pineiro said. “It was kind of spinning more than just a straight line drive.”
Pineiro, a 14-game winner last season, has a 1.98 ERA during his current 5-0 stretch. He credits the Mariners’ major league-leading defense, which has only 32 errors in 88 games.
“That gives me more confidence to go out there knowing that you don’t have to make that perfect pitch,” Pineiro said.
The Orioles’ Jay Gibbons said Pineiro was effectively wild.
“He was all over the place, but he wasn’t throwing the ball right down the middle,” Gibbons said. “He’s just a good pitcher. He makes it real tough.”
Suzuki hit the second pitch by Jason Johnson (7-4) for his ninth leadoff homer, third this season. With eight homers, he’s matched his totals for each of his first two years in the AL.
Melvin Mora had an RBI groundout in the third, and the Orioles closed with four runs in the eighth.
Hasegawa, Seattle’s closer until Kazuhiro Sasaki returns from the disabled list, got four outs for his fourth save in four opportunities.
Suzuki and Hasegawa, who are both Japanese, had key performances on Salute to Japanese Baseball Night at Safeco. Former Japanese players Yutaka Fukumoto and Choji Murata were honored in ceremonies before the game, and Ryozo Kato, Japanese ambassador to the United States, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Fittingly, Suzuki opened the scoring with a homer.
“That was a great moment for all the Japanese people watching on TV,” Hasegawa said.
Johnson allowed five runs, 10 hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings.
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove was upset with Johnson for not getting to first base fast enough on Randy Winn’s infield single with two outs in the sixth. The Mariners scored three runs after that.
“He didn’t cover the bag,” Hargrove said.
In a game that featured the AL’s top two hitters, Mora (.355) went 0-for-4 and Suzuki (.350) was 2-for-5. Suzuki also stole his 24th base, one behind AL leader Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees.
McLemore, Martinez and Baltimore’s Jeff Conine each had three hits.
For the second time in 58 career starts, Pineiro failed to strike out a batter. … Suzuki is hitting .587 (37-for-63) with two homers and eight RBIs against the Orioles. … Of Suzuki’s 24 career homers, 14 have been at Safeco. … Johnson dropped to 1-5 against the Mariners, including 0-4 at Safeco. … Freddy Garcia (9-7) would give the Mariners four 10-game winners if he beatsthe Orioles on Thursday night.