May 13, 2012 in Sports

Mariners look forward while going backward

One bad inning costs Noesi at New York
Geoff Baker Seattle Times
Associated Press photo

Yankees Alex Rodriguez breaks a bat grounding out in the fifth inning against the Mariners on Saturday in New York.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – Those into silver linings had plenty to take away from this latest Hector Noesi mound adventure.

They could read the box score without having watched the game and come away reasonably impressed with Noesi lasting seven innings, allowing only six hits and leaving with five earned runs against him at Yankee Stadium. But anyone into actually winning games will note that a 6-2 defeat Saturday was all but sealed by the fourth inning when Noesi couldn’t finish any two-strike pitches.

That Noesi ate some innings later on hardly mattered to the New York Yankees, who put it in cruise control the rest of the day. But when you’re the Mariners and rebuilding is the buzzword, the silver-lining victories are often all you’ll manage in ballparks where winning games takes precedence above all else.

“He was pitching good all day long, he just made some mistakes with two strikes there in that second inning and they made him pay for it,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “But really, even before that and after that and getting to the point where he had two strikes, he was really good today.

“He got a lot of good hitters out today.”

Presumably, the Mariners – trying to encourage a young pitcher who has been inconsistent at best – will now work with Noesi on getting those good hitters out when the game is still within reach.

He served up three doubles and a two-run homer in the second inning by Jayson Nix, a backup infielder who had been 0 for 20 dating to last season. Noesi then left a full-count fastball up to Raul Ibanez in the fourth and watched him crank it over the center-field wall for a solo homer and 5-0 lead.

Ibanez doubled a run home in the second and has two homers, the double and five runs batted in over the first two games of the series.

Down five runs early, the offense responded as one might expect and didn’t look all that competitive against Yankees starter Phil Hughes. Mike Carp finally hit a solo homer in the seventh and then nearly smacked a second long ball in the ninth.

Carp’s shot hit the top of the right-field fence and was initially ruled a two-run homer. But upon video review, it was changed to a run-scoring double.

The power display by Carp was one of the rare offensive highlights for an M’s team shut down by Hughes over 7 2/3 innings.

“He just commanded the zone real well,” Carp said of Hughes, who entered the day with a 6.67 earned-run average. “I think we expected a little more of last year’s Hughes.”

The only big hits in this one came off Noesi.

He had Mark Teixeira down 0-2, then saw a fastball ripped to the right-field corner. With Ibanez down 0-2, Noesi threw two balls, then hung a changeup that was poked down the left-field line for another double.

Noesi jumped ahead 0-2 on the next batter, Russell Martin, only to see the .184-hitting catcher blast one over the head of center fielder Michael Saunders for another double.

Nix then took a 1-1 sinker over the wall in right for a two-run homer. He last went deep 11 months ago while playing for Toronto.

“I was just missing three or four spots in the second inning and that was it,” Noesi said.

He added that he was trying too hard that inning and throwing from a three-quarters slot instead of over the top. As the game wore on, he tried to focus more on keeping his mechanics in line.

After the Ibanez homer in the fourth, Noesi allowed just one more hit and finished by retiring 10 of 11.

But his team was never close to being in it again. Noesi got lit up early and often by the White Sox and Rangers and also blew a 4-0 lead and lasted only five innings in Detroit a few weeks ago.

Yankees 6, Mariners 2

Ackley 2b 402000.248
Jaso c 401000.277
I.Suzuki rf 401001.288
J.Montero dh 300012.261
Seager 3b 411000.295
Carp lf 412201.167
Smoak 1b 401002.195
M.Saunders cf 400002.219
Kawasaki ss 300000.194
Totals 3428218
Jeter dh 412000.376
Granderson cf 400002.264
Al.Rodriguez 3b 400002.287
Cano 2b 401100.306
Teixeira 1b 411000.222
Swisher rf 300000.267
Ibanez lf 322200.282
Wise lf 000000.182
Martin c 311101.184
J.Nix ss 311201.100
Totals 3268606
Seattle 000000101—280
New York 04010001x—680

LOB—Seattle 6, New York 2. 2B—Carp (2), Teixeira (7), Ibanez (5), Martin (3). HR—Carp (2), J.Nix (1), Ibanez (7). RBIs—Carp 2 (5), Cano (13), Ibanez 2 (21), Martin (8), J.Nix 2 (2). SB—Jeter (2). RLISP—Seattle 3, New York 1. GIDP—Jaso. DP—New York 1.

Noesi L, 2-4 7655046.32
Wilhelmsen 1211023.38
P.Hghes W, 3-4 72/3611145.50
Logan S, 1-1 11/3211042.45

IR-S—Logan 2-0. T—2:36. A—43,954 (50,291).

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