BY John Hickey 09:16PM 04/15/2011

Hochevar latest to mow down Mariners

Opposing starters have 2.01 ERA against the Mariners after Seattle gets one run (and one hit) off Royals starting pitcher Luke Hochevar.

Erik Bedard struggled through 4.2 innings in suffering a third consecutive loss Friday. / Getty Images

Seattle hitters continued to make it look too easy for Major League starting pitchers Friday night in Kansas City.

The Mariners have done reasonably well against bullpens, including Friday when they scored four runs combined in the eighth and ninth innings.

For the first seven, however, the Mariner hitters once again did nothing – the 14 pitchers who have started against Seattle have combined for a 2.01 ERA in those games – and Seattle starting pitcher Erik Bedard got knocked around again.

The end result was a 6-5 loss to the Royals, a game that was nowhere near as competitive as the final score would indicate.

Seattle (4-10) scored three times in the ninth to close the gap, and Chone Figgins’ bid for a game-tying hit turned out to be a hard liner that died in the glove of Kansas City third baseman Mike Aviles.

To that point, the Mariners had received four walks, a Michael Saunders RBI single and a run-scoring RBI grounder from Ichiro Suzuki in the ninth inning, meaning Seattle has almost as many base runners in the ninth inning (five) as they did in the first eight innings (six).

Much as left-hander Bruce Chen did Thursday, Luke Hochevar threw the pitches he wanted and the Mariners went after them meekly. Ichiro, who had the only hit off Hochevar, doubled and scored on a Jack Cust grounder in the first. From the third through the seventh, Seattle didn’t get a single man on base.

“When you are trying to work through a stretch like we’re going through offensively, it’s normal to try and do too much,’’ manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s OK. I don’t want our guys to get too passive.

“We are not on the right side of things right now. When we get pitches to hit, we can’t miss. We are either a tad passive at times or we’re not squaring the ball up.’’

Hochevar, a right-hander with mediocre credentials (1-1 and a 5.30 ERA), dominated the Mariners by setting down the final 16 batters he faced as the Royals built up a 6-1 lead, most of that against Bedard, who continues to struggle during his first outings since the middle of the 2009 season.

Bedard didn’t have a clean inning, and the damage could have been worse after the first four Kansas City hitters reached base. The Royals had a run in, the bases loaded and no one out, but Bedard rallied by getting a pop fly and a couple of strikeouts.

“I think he threw the ball well,’’ Wedge said of Bedard. “He has a good arm. (But) Erik is a work in progress in regards to him being back on the mound. I’m pleased with his stuff. He needs to take steps (forward).’’

A two-run homer by Jeff Francoeur in the third and a solo shot by Matt Treanor in the fifth kept putting distance between the Royals and the Mariners. By the time Hochevar was replaced after seven innings, things looked grim at 6-1.

A Luis Rodriguez double with one out in the eighth finally got Seattle another base runner, and Ichiro’s second hit of the game – he now has 10 consecutive multiple hit games in Kansas City, a Kauffman Stadium record – made it 6-2.

Lefty Tim Collins opened the ninth by walking two men, and that brought on closer Joakim Soria, who got a quick strikeout of slumping Miguel Olivo before Saunders singled to bring home Seattle’s third run.

Soria then lost his control, too, walking Rodriguez to load the bases and pinch hitter Justin Smoak to make it 6-4. Ichiro’s grounder was the second out but brought home another run before Figgins’ liner was snagged by Aviles.

Twitter: @JHickey3


  • Tim

    If both Pineda and Laffey can keep doing what they are doing this year while getting any kind of support offensively, this will be a fun season, whether we win the division or not.

  • cruddly

    The one thing everyone glosses over is how a mediocre Husky defense is supposed to stop a team with a great quarterback, when it couldn’t stop a team (Nebraska) with a crap quarterback (Martinez.) 
    Does anyone remember how California’s rookie quarterback slice and diced the Husky defense?  The quarterbacks of Eastern WA and Hawaii had similar success.  It was as if every opposing quarterback looked like Johnny Unitas when playing the the porous Husky defense.
    Okay, so they beat Utah and Colorado convincingly and the defense finally showed a little grit.  Does anyone really believe these two teams belong in the Pac 12?  It’s almost as it they were invited to join this conference solely to provide company for the likes of WSU and the Beavers at the little kid’s table.
    Of course the Huskies could upset the Cardinal, but will they stop Luck? — No way.  Their only hope is to outscore Stanford and be ahead when the final whistle blows.  This kind of shootout rarely ends in victory for the visiting team.  Stanford is way better than the very overrated Nebraska, a team that the Huskies seemed to be able to score on at will, but a team that still managed to beat the Huskies due to their home field advantage. 
    If the Dawgs do pull this off, it will rank as one of their greatest victories in the History of the program.

  • marcelsees

    Kieth Price and the Huskies will fare only as well as our offensive and defensive lines play.  Our only hope for victory outside of a bunch of favorable turnovers is to dominate time of possession and score!  Price needs time against a stout Stanford D-line, but yes he could conceivably slice and dice.  Ta’amu and company must excel beyond merely competing with what’s a virtual NFL O-line, they must approach dominance.  This is a test for the Husky interior lines, not the skill players.   We’ll see just how far we’ve come.

  • Chevigny

    This one and all our games are about the defense- we know what the offense can do.