Pirates 5, Mariners 3
SEATTLE (AP)—Get a closer suspended, and your bullpen becomes a who-knows game of roulette.
Tom Gorzelanny allowed two runs in seven innings for his first win in more than a month and recycled relievers Masumi Kuwata, Damaso Marte and Shawn Chacon got the final five outs under duress in the Pirates’ 5-3 victory over the sinking Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
“We had to piece it together tonight with our bullpen,” said Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy, who will have to do so until Friday, when Capps returns from his suspension for hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch earlier this month.
Kuwata, the 39-year-old veteran of 20 seasons in Japan, struck out pinch-hitter Ben Broussard with the tying runs on base to end the eighth. Marte, who hasn’t had a save since 2005, began the ninth by walking Ichiro Suzuki and getting Jose Vidro to fly out.
Chacon, the Colorado Rockies’ closer in 2004 who flamed out in 11 starts last year with the Yankees, struck out Jose Guillen looking and Raul Ibanez swinging for his first save in nearly three years, extending Seattle’s losing streak six games.
“A little bit of a flashback there,” said Chacon, who acknowledged his heart is still in being a starting pitcher.
“Looking back on the ’04 season closing, one of the biggest things for me was falling behind, getting in hitters’ counts. Tonight, I was just concentrating on going after them.”
Seattle’s skid has come since the Mariners were a season-high nine games over .500. Manager Mike Hargrove refused to talk about the latest fall, which included a 1-for-14 effort with runners in scoring position.
“People are trying to do too much to get out of it,” Vidro said, “but we’ve got what it takes and we’ll get back.”
Pittsburgh took advantage of Richie Sexson’s first error in 542 chances this season. Nate McLouth’s grounder caromed off his glove into right field, and the two-base error led to two unearned runs off Miguel Batista in the first inning.
Batista walked four—including Ryan Doumit with the bases loaded in the first—and lasted just 5 1-3 innings. Batista’s start June 13 against the Cubs in Chicago is the last time a Mariners starter went more than six innings.
“It was horrible,” Batista said. “I was trying to be too fine.”
Gorzelanny (7-4) allowed eight hits, walked none and tied a season high with six strikeouts. He threw 123 pitches, another season high, and won for the first time since May 14. He was pitching a day earlier than expected because Ian Snell burned a finger on his pitching hand in a kitchen accident.
“He owes me a couple of dinners—ordering in,” Gorzelanny said.
Gorzelanny escaped several jams, first getting Sexson to ground out with two on to end the first. After Jose Guillen’s double smacked about a foot below the top of the center field wall leading off the third, Gorzelanny got Raul Ibanez to pop out, struck out Sexson and forced Kenji Johjima to line out.
In the fifth, Suzuki got his second single and then stole second as Vidro struck out. But Gorzelanny retired Guillen on a liner and Ibanez on a grounder.
John Grabow got the first out in the eighth before Jonah Bayliss entered and allowed Sexson’s 11th home run, three rows into the second deck beyond left field. Beltre got an infield single and Lopez walked with two outs before Kuwata entered and retired pinch-hitter Ben Broussard on a ground out.
Kuwata left after fanning Broussard with Suzuki, the six-time All-Star, waiting in vain on deck. The two Japanese League veterans still haven’t faced each other in a regular-season game, disappointing a throng of Japanese reporters who were waiting to capture the moment.
“Yeah, I was noticing on deck, ‘Oh, Ichiro is waiting.’ But in that situation, I don’t want to face him,” Kuwata said, smiling.
Chacon’s last save came on Sept. 22, 2004, when he was with Colorado. … The game had just three umpires because crew chief Jerry Crawford was ill at the hotel. Brian O’Nora moved from first base to replace Crawford behind the plate. … Sexson’s last error came Sept. 22, 2006. … Beltre returned after missing five games with a sprained left thumb. … It was Pittsburgh’s first game in Seattle in its 121-year history.