April 12, 2011 in Sports

M’s Pineda dazzling in his first big league win

Tim Booth Associated Press
 

SEATTLE — Rookie Michael Pineda dazzled in the first home start of his career, taking a shutout into the eighth inning for his first major-league win, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Tuesday night.

The 22-year-old, making just his second start, left the Blue Jays guessing all night. He was clocked as high as 99 mph on the stadium radar gun, but also worked in nasty off-speed pitches, including a biting slider that twisted Travis Snider for his sixth strikeout to end the seventh.

Pineda (1-1) went 7 1-3 innings, giving up just five hits, one earned run and striking out seven.

Ryan Langerhans hit a two-run homer in the third off Toronto starter Ricky Romero, who was otherwise brilliant. Romero (1-1) retired 14 straight at one point and pitched into the eighth.

Pineda’s performance only raises hopes for Mariners fans of what a future rotation could be with Felix Hernandez and Pineda at the top.

And on this homestand, it was Pineda getting the best of Hernandez, who was tagged for seven earned runs and 12 hits a night earlier by the Blue Jays.

Pineda came out for the eighth having given up just three hits and retiring the previous eight batters after Edwin Encarnacion’s single in the fifth. Encarnacion started the eighth with a sharp single to left and just as the Seattle bullpen started stirring, Pineda got Jayson Nix looking at a 97 mph fastball.

Then trouble arose. Yunel Escobar walked and after a passed ball from catcher Miguel Olivo, Corey Patterson ended Pineda’s night with a sharp single to right that scored a pair.

Pineda left to a standing ovation as Chris Ray entered to face Jose Bautista, but before Bautista could do anything, Olivo threw wildly to second as Patterson attempted to steal and advanced to third on the errant throw.

Olivo got bailed out when Bautista popped out down the right-field line. First baseman Justin Smoak made a difficult catch, spun and threw home to get Patterson trying to tag and score the tying run.

Brandon League pitched the ninth for his second save in as many chances.

Seattle struck against Romero in the third, deciding to get its offense started a little earlier than a night before when the Mariners scored eight runs in the final three innings for a stunning 8-7 win over the Blue Jays.

Brendan Ryan started the third with a solid single and one pitch later was trotting home after Langerhans’ team-leading third homer of the season. It was just his fourth hit overall this year in 19 at-bats to that point.

After Ichiro Suzuki tapped back to the mound, Jack Wilson made it to second after Nix rushed his throw on a high chopper, sending it into the stands behind first base. Wilson stole third and scored when Bradley fought off a 2-2 pitch and dumped it into right field.

Romero settled down from there, retiring 14 straight Mariners after Bradley’s single, including four strikeouts. He was charged with just two earned runs and struck out eight, but suffered his first loss of the season after a pair of impressive starts.

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