Mariners Game Recap: M’s Outgun Pirates in Pittsburgh

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Jul 9, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) connects for a three run home run in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 9, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) connects for a three run home run in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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62. Final. 4. 4. 7

The Mariners blasted past the Pirates in the opener of a mini two-game series on Tuesday night.

The Seattle Mariners relied heavily on their bats tonight as they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-4, at PNC Park. Felix Hernandez (5-4, 3.45 ERA) did not pitch particularly well for the Mariners, but was credited with the win. Francisco Liriano (6-10, 5.38 ERA) took the loss for the Pirates. Steve Cishek picked up his 24th save of the season after shutting the door in the ninth.

Things did not start off well for King Felix and the Seattle Mariners in the first inning on Tuesday night. After John Jaso grounded out leading off the ballgame, Gregory Polanco went yard for a solo home run. Andrew Mccutcheon was plunked by a bender before Starling Marte slugged an RBI triple to center field. Marte hustled home to score on a Jung Ho Kang groundout to give the Pirates an early 3-0 lead.

The Mariners cut into the Bucs’ lead in the top of the second inning. Dae-ho Lee went down on strikes leading off the frame, but Kyle Seager swung the momentum with a beautiful bunt single down the third base line. Mike Zunino then showed great patience by working a free pass, and Seags trotted home to score on a Leonys Martin double. Martin’s RBI double made it a 3-1 game.

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Pittsburgh added to their cushion in the home half of the second. After retiring the first two Pirates with ease, Hernandez was lit up by the opposing pitcher. Francisco Liriano muscled up on a 91 mph sinker, driving the ball over the wall in center field for a solo home run. The round-tripper was Liriano’s first of the season, and just the second of his career.

However, the M’s bats just wouldn’t quit tonight. Seattle fought back to plate 3 runs in the top of the third inning. Franklin Gutierrez led off the frame with a bang, depositing a Liriano offering into the seats in right field. After Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz were retired, Lee sparked a two-out rally with a single. Seager followed by yanking a slider over the wall in right field for a two-run homer. Seags’ 20th big fly of the season tied the game at 4.

The Mariners were not done scoring runs, as they pushed across three more in the top of the fourth. Martin smacked another two bagger leading off the inning. Hernandez dropped down a sacrifice bunt before Shawn O’Malley doubled home Martin to give Seattle the lead. Guti worked a walk, and Cano plated O’Malley with an RBI single. Cruz extended the M’s lead to 7-4 with an RBI groundout.

Felix was lifted from the game after allowing 4 runs on 9 hits across 6 innings of work tonight. Hernandez struck out 3 and walked 1 en route to earning the win. It’s hard to call this a successful outing for the King, but the M’s bats picked him up. The 30-year-old right-hander has now coughed up 9 runs on 19 hits through 12.2 innings since being activated from the disabled list.

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Vidal Nuno was called on to pitch for the Mariners in the seventh inning. The funky southpaw allowed a hit and walked a batter before being pulled in favor of Tom Wilhelmsen. The Bartender was much more successful, retiring the next three batters to maintain the M’s three-run lead.

Scott Servais turned to Edwin Diaz in the eighth, and the young fireballer got himself out of quite a pickle. Francisco Cervelli led off the frame with a single and Adam Frazier doubled to put runners on second and third with none out. Thankfully, Diaz sat down the next three men he faced and kept the Pirates off the scoreboard.

Steve Cishek entered with a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. The M’s closer got the job done to earn the save for Seattle.

Next: M’s to Upgrade Rotation?

Up next for the Mariners (51-48) is an opportunity to sweep the Pirates (51-48) in this mini series on Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 pm PT from PNC Park in Pittsburgh. James Paxton (3-4, 4.18 ERA) will get the ball for the M’s tomorrow night, and Gerrit Cole (5-6, 2.99 ERA) will get the ball for the Bucs in the finale.

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