Pittsburgh broke open a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning, victimizing relievers Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina, and scored a 4-2 win over the Mariners that gave the Pirates a sweep of their two-game series at Safeco Field. The Mariners, who didn’t do much offensively (0-for-5 with runners in scoring position) aside from Raul Ibanez’s 18th homer, wasted another winnable start by ace Felix Hernandez.
The Mariners fell to 34-45, 11.5 games behind the division leading Oakland Athletics. Losers of their past two following a two-game winning streak, the Mariners will take Thursday off before a three-game series Friday with the Chicago Cubs, like the Mariners having a hapless season with no meaningful games left.
The Pirates got to Hernandez for two runs in the fourth inning when, following a rare walk to designated hitter Garrett Jones on a full count, Neil Walker homered to right on a 1-and-1 count. Michael Saunders hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, slicing the Pittsburgh lead to 2-1.
The Mariners tied it in the sixth on the home run by Ibanez, his 18th of the season and nine in the month of June.The single-season record for home runs by a 41-year-old is 29, by Ted Williams in 1960.
Hernandez departed after seven innings with a no-decision. He allowed two earned runs on six hits, fanned 11, walked two and lowered his ERA to 2.70. The double-digit strikeout game was the 23rd of Hernandez’s career.
Pittsburgh won the game off Seattle’s flammable bullpen. Jordy Mercer hit a run-scoring single off Medina. That run was charged to Furbush, but Medina contributed his own damage when his wild pitch scored Travis Snider, who had been intentionally walked.
Friday, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26) will throw for Seattle against LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85). Following the weekend series, the Mariners will embark upon a six-game road swing through Texas and Cincinnati.
NOTES: Dustin Ackley made his first appearance — as a pinch runner — since his recall from Tacoma. He entered the game as the DH and did not have an at-bat . . . Nick Franklin went 2-for-5 and lifted his batting average to .287. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 18 contests . . . Ibanez extended his hitting streak to four games. He has hit six of his 18 homers off lefties.