The Pirates spoiled the return of LHP Wade Miley, hammering the Mariners 8-1 Wednesday night at Safeco Field to split the two-game series (box). Pittsburgh had 11 hits over the first seven innings and took advantage of three Seattle errors — two by 3B Kyle Seager — to hand Seattle (39-39) its eighth loss in 11 games.
Pittsburgh 1B David Freese hit the first pitch of the second inning down the line and over the left field wall, resulting in a solo home run that accounted for the first run and set the tone. The Pirates scored three runs in the second inning and pulled out to a 5-0 lead in the fifth.
The debut of RHP Nate Karns as a reliever went better than expected. He struck out the side in the sixth during his first appearance out of the bullpen. He threw two shutout innings. Karns got into some trouble in the seventh, thanks in part to Seager’s second error, but struck out the final two batters to leave the bases loaded.
He became the first Mariners reliever to strike out six batters in two innings since Rafael Soriano in 2003.
Miley struggled, going four innings while allowing seven hits and five runs. RHP Donn Roach provided more of the same during a three-run fifth inning. David Rollins, like Karns, had to overcome an error but threw two shutout innings.
By the time the Mariners got on the board, they were already in an 8-0 hole. LF Seth Smith and 2B Robinson Cano posted back-to-back singles in the first inning before Pittsburgh rookie starter Jameson Taillon, getting his second career win recorded 11 consecutive outs through the fourth.
Seager, having committed his fourth error in a span of eight games in the top of the fifth – he would add another two innings later — led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and came around to score on an Adam Lind single. Cano had two hits, continuing his torrid offensive pace. RF Nelson Cruz was particularly invisible, with a double-play groundout, a popout to second, a strikeout and four runners left on base over his first three at-bats.
“The ball had finish, snap and bottom to it. He can throw it for a strike and he can throw it in the dirt for a chase. When you see hitters taking funny swings at it, you know it’s coming out of his hand looking like a strike and then it’s gone.” — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Taillon fastball
“Not our finest performance, obviously.” – Mariners manager Scott Servais
To clear a roster spot for Miley to be activated from the 15-day disabled list, the Mariners placed reliever Nick Vincent on the DL. Vincent, who is leading the team with 35 appearances, was battling a sore back . . . Miley made his first start since June 12. … C Steve Clevenger broke the third metacarpal bone in his right hand on a foul tip in the third inning. The return of Mike Zunino appears imminent . . . Seager has nine errors, one more than he had during 157 games as a Gold Glove winner in 2014 . . . Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon had four career starts entering Wednesday.
The Mariners begin a three-game series against the power-hitting Baltimore Orioles and their slugging first baseman, Mark Trumbo. Dealt to Baltimore in a cost-cutting move that brought Clevenger to the Mariners, Trumbo has blossomed in his first year with the Orioles.
Seattle will start RHP Taijuan Walker, back in the rotation after skipping a start with foot soreness. Walker (3-6, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to go against Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (10-1, 3.52 ERA), another good one who got away. Tillman has had a good career since being dealt by the Mariners in the Erik Bedard deal, but he’s put up Hall of Fame numbers facing Seattle — 7-0 with a 2.96 ERA.