Mariners 3, Rangers 1
Pineiro had all his pitches working to perfection as he threw a four-hitter Wednesday night and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 in a game delayed 34 minutes by a power outage.
“I was able to throw in the cage for 10 minutes, stay loose,” said Pineiro (14-10), who snapped a five-game skid over six previous starts. “I got on the bike and rode five minutes. I was moving around, staying loose.”
Bret Boone hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning, shortly after the lights came back on and drove in all of Seattle’s runs as the Mariners snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL West.
“It was nice to get a big hit tonight,” Boone said. “It was nice to get a win, and it was nice to see Joel pitch well.”
Pineiro allowed Rafael Palmeiro’s two-out homer in the ninth, but won for the first time since July 31 as Seattle also remained two games behind Boston in the wild-card race.
He’s been great against Texas. Palmeiro’s homer snapped a streak of 17 straight scoreless innings by the Rangers against Pineiro, who improved to 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA lifetime against Texas.
“He’s had a great run against us, and he gets us one more time,” Rangers catcher Todd Greene said. “I hope we can figure out something against him.”
Mariners manager Bob Melvin even reworked the rotation so Pineiro, who had been scheduled to throw last Sunday in Baltimore, would face Texas. Pineiro was outstanding, using a fastball, slider, curve and changeup.
“When he’s throwing strikes with all four pitches, he’s as difficult as anyone to deal with in the league. We saw that right away tonight,” Melvin said.
There’s been no shortage of strangeness lately surrounding the Mariners. One of baseball’s top teams all summer, they had lost 13 of 20 games heading into the final three weeks of the season.
Then their game against Texas was interrupted when the lights went out. Carlos Guillen took seven pitches from Rangers starter John Thomson (12-13) leading off the bottom of the fourth before the lights surged and went out.
“Why didn’t it happen in the fifth inning?” Pineiro said, recalling his thoughts at the time.
When play resumed, Guillen hit the next pitch from Thomson for a single to left. Boone followed with a two-run homer to left on a 2-2 pitch, his 33rd home run of the season but first in 11 games.
That put Seattle ahead 3-0, and the delay didn’t seem to affect Pineiro. He retired the side in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Pineiro has one of the biggest breaking curves in baseball, and when it’s working it’s real tough on opposing batters. He struck out eight and walked only one for his third complete game of the season and fifth overall.
“He threw sidearm for a strikeout to Alex (Rodriguez) in the ninth inning, which is something he’s never done before,” Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price said. “You’ve got to feel pretty confident about your stuff if you think you can start dropping down in the middle of the ballgame.”
After going 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA in July, Pineiro was 0-5 with an 8.30 ERA in August. He didn’t get a decision in his previous start, a 10-8 Seattle victory at Tampa Bay on Sept. 2.
Thomson didn’t pitch poorly, but it wasn’t enough the way Pineiro stumped the Texas hitters. Thomson allowed only four hits in 6 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out two before handing off to lefty Erasmo Ramirez.
The Mariners raced to a 1-0 lead in the first. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a double to right, took third on a groundout by Guillen and sprinted home when Boone grounded to third.
“We got a guy on, got him over and got him in,” Boone said. “One-to-nothing in the first inning. We haven’t done that much lately. That kind of gets you going.”
It was the first time since Aug. 30 that the Mariners scored in the firstinning.
Seattle SS Rey Sanchez was a late scratch because of a tight left hamstring. He was replaced by Mark McLemore and will be evaluated again Thursday. … Safeco Field’s roof was closed all day because of showers. … Mariners 1B John Olerud walked in the second, the 1,186th walk of his career to tie Charlie Gerhinger for 49th on baseball’s all-time list. … The power outage occurred after a tractor-trailer struck a power pole south of the ballpark. … Seattle has 16 shutouts, most in baseball. Texas has been shutout 12 times.