SEATTLE - One day after showing off their wealth of power in an easy win over the Seattle Mariners, the Pittsburgh Pirates needed a clutch hit from No. 9 hitter Jordy Mercer to finish off the two-game sweep Wednesday.
Mercer's two-out single and an off-target throw from Seattle centerfielder Endy Chavez in the top of the ninth inning brought home the go-ahead run as the Pirates extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 4-2 victory over the Mariners.
Mercer rose to the challenge after Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina intentionally walked the batter before him to put runners on first and second with two outs. He drove a Medina pitch into centerfield, scoring Pedro Alvarez from second base for a 3-2 lead. A wild pitch scored another ninth-inning run as the Pirates (48-30) won for the seventh time in eight games.
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez had a typically strong outing but gave up a two-run homer in the fourth and didn't factor into the decision. Hernandez went seven innings, allowing two runs off six hits while striking out 11.
Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush (1-4) took the loss, while Pittsburgh's Vin Mazzaro (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win.
Mark Melancon earned his second save of the season despite giving up two runs in the ninth. Pinch hitter Mike Zunino singled, then moved to third on a two-out single from Nick Franklin before Melancon got Kyle Seager to ground out to end the game.
The Pirates struck first on Neil Walker's two-run homer in the fourth inning. Walker's sixth home run of the season, and Pittsburgh's sixth in the series, gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Seattle got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Jordy Mercer's error allowed baserunner Raul Ibanez to get from first to third on a grounder to first. Ibanez eventually scored on a Michael Saunders' sacrifice fly, pulling the Mariners within 2-1.
Pittsburgh starter Jeanmar Gomez, a 25-year-old Venezuelan who was called up from Triple-A to make Wednesday's start, actually outdueled countryman Hernandez for five innings but didn't make it to the sixth. He allowed three hits and an unearned run while striking out five before Justin Wilson came on in relief to start the sixth with Pittsburgh clinging to a 2-1 lead.
The Mariners' Raul Ibanez took Wilson deep with one out in the sixth to tie the score 2-2, giving the 41-year-old outfielder 18 home runs on the season and nine in the month of June. Ibanez has hit four home runs in Seattle's past four games, dating back to Saturday night.
Ibanez looked like he might have a chance to play the part of hero when he stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on second base in the eighth inning, but Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro intentionally walked him with the score still tied 2-2. Mazzaro struck out Justin Smoak and got Michael Saunders to fly out to left field to strand both runners.
Seattle native Travis Snider of the Pirates also drew an intentional walk in a critical situation when the Mariners' Medina gave him a free pass with two outs and a runner on second base in the top of the ninth. Mercer made the Mariners pay with his RBI single, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Snider then scored from third on a Medina wild pitch to put the Mariners in a 4-2 hole heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The game started with roof open under sunny skies, but a sudden-but-steady rain that came on in the top of the fourth inning forced the Safeco Field to be closed while play was going on. The final 4 ½ innings were played with a closed roof.
NOTES: The Pirates optioned RHP Duke Welker to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for Gomez to start Wednesday's game. ... Pittsburgh OF Starling Marte collected another extra-base hit with a fifth-inning double. Of Marte's last 12 hits, nine had gone for extra bases. ... Walker, who had never previously faced Hernandez, had two hits off the Mariners' ace Wednesday. The 27-year-old infielder had a two-run homer in the fourth and added a two-out single in the sixth. ... The top of the seventh inning ended with a rare strikeout/caught stealing double play. Mariners C Henry Blanco threw out baserunner Jordy Mercer after Marte struck out.