Phillies Lose To Mariners, Winning Streak Ends
SEATTLE (AP) – Rookie right-hander Michael Pineda wasn’t afraid to walk Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard to load the bases in the sixth inning.
The move paid off.
Pineda wriggled out of a jam in the sixth after giving up his first hit, helping the Seattle Mariners end the Phillies’ season-high seven-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Friday night.
Entering the sixth, Pineda (7-4) had a 3-0 lead and no-hitter but Shane Victorino singled to right with two outs and a runner on. Then Chase Utley followed with an RBI single.
That brought up Howard, with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs.
“I did not want to make mistake for him,” Pineda said. “I need to make my pitches because he’s a good hitter.”
He made his pitches so Howard couldn’t hit them, walking him on five pitches to load the bases. That allowed Pineda to focus on Placido Polanco. He struck him out on three pitches — a checked swing called by home umpire Doug Eddings.
“He felt like the guy called a check-swing strike and didn’t check with another umpire,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who trotted out to break up Polanco’s debate with Eddings.
Pineda went six innings, allowing the two hits and one run. He walked three and struck out five.
Ichiro Suzuki, the two-time batting champion, had three hits and has six straight multihit games to raise his average from .252 to .275.
Brendan Ryan had two hits and two RBIs.
Dustin Ackley, the second pick in the 2009 draft, called up before the game, stroked his first big league hit — a single through Roy Oswalt’s legs — in his first at-bat in the second inning.
It’s the first time a Mariners player had a hit in his first career plate appearance since Wladimir Balentien on Sept. 4, 2007.
Miguel Olivo hit his 11th home run for the Mariners while Victorino had his seventh for the Phillies.
“Everyone handled themselves appropriately,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said, “starting with Pineda. He really had to work there in the sixth, throwing almost 30 pitches (28). We took care of him and got him out of there.”
Aaron Laffey worked two innings — giving up Victorino’s solo shot in the eighth — before yielding to Brandon League in the ninth.
League earned his 21st save in 24 opportunities. He now leads the majors in saves.
“He (Pineda) was good. He was real good. He was very good,” Manuel said. “He looked a little spent at the end. We didn’t hit very many balls hard the first five, six innings. He mixed his pitches good and he’s big and strong.”
Roy Oswalt (4-5), who has won just once since April 21, went 6 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Entering the game, Oswalt had allowed one earned run or fewer in eight if his previous 10 road starts.
Suzuki pestered Oswalt throughout. He reached on a one-out infield single in the third. Ryan then drilled a first-pitch RBI triple into the right-center gap.
In the fourth, Olivo hit a 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Suzuki opened the fifth with a single and Ryan walked. Adam Kennedy advanced both with a sacrifice bunt. Justin Smoak lifted a foul fly down the right-field line. Utley, with his back to home, caught it and Suzuki alertly tagged and scored easily.
“I hollered at him to tag up but he was coming back anyway,” third base coach Jeff Datz said. “When Utley caught the ball, yes, we’re going to go. If (right fielder) Domonic Brown had caught it, depending on where he was, he has a much better arm and maybe we stay.”
Again in the seventh, Suzuki started it with a one-out double down the left-field line. Ryan followed with a RBI single to left for a 4-1 lead.
“His bat is staying in the zone a lot longer, the plane of the bat is where it needs to be,” Wedge said of Suzuki’s streak. “He’s a tough hitter to critique because he has a very unique approach. But his timing is better, his direction is better and it has paid off for him and us.”
The Mariners are 4-0 against National League teams this season.
NOTES: Wedge had avoided using young first baseman Smoak in the fourth spot all season but he batted him cleanup for the first time. “I feel like we have a pretty good grasp of the type of hitter he’s going to be and how he has handled himself in the three hole and five hole,” Wedge said. “I’ve enjoyed watching that. Let’s see him in the cleanup spot.” … With the DH available, Phils manager Charlie Manuel put Ben Francisco at that spot and started former Mariner Raul Ibanez in left field because of his past experience at that position at Safeco Field.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)