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Indians pound Pineiro

Kirby Arnold Everett Herald

SEATTLE – On the day the Seattle Mariners’ trade activity backed up the baseball belief that a franchise can never have enough pitching, they proved it on the field, too.

The Cleveland Indians hammered Joel Pineiro for eight hits and seven runs in five innings Sunday, and his outing again forced the Mariners into the bullpen early in a 9-7 loss at Safeco Field.

The loss left Pineiro 3-7 and continued a season-long struggle for the right-hander, who the Mariners had hoped would become the staff ace.

Since a victory on April 26 that gave him a 2-1 record, Pineiro has gone 1-6 with one victory in 16 starts. The seven earned runs Sunday tied a season high.

What’s next?

“Joel has been a very good pitcher in the past and I firmly believe he will be again,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “The only way you get that out of a pitcher is to keep running him out there. For the foreseeable future, that’s what we will do.”

Hargrove praised Pineiro after his last start, even though he allowed 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the Tigers. Many of those hits were bloops into the outfield and bouncers through the infield.

Sunday, there were none of those.

The Indians jumped on Pineiro early, with five hits in the first two innings, when he struggled with his control. They scored two runs in the first inning and three in the second, then one each in the fourth and fifth.

“I didn’t have any fastball location,” Pineiro said. “That hurt me pretty bad. I felt fine, no excuses.”

Jhonny Peralta delivered the biggest blow, a three-run double with two outs in the second inning after the Mariners had tied the score 2-2 in the bottom of the first.

Pineiro retired the Indians 1-2-3 only in the third inning, and the runs he gave up in the second, fourth and fifth never allowed the Mariners to find any momentum despite a good offensive day of their own.

The M’s played a game of catch-up all day, and they never quite did.

They trailed 2-0 before their first at-bat, but tied it in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Richie Sexson and an RBI double by Adrian Beltre.

The M’s also scored once in the second, when Raul Ibanez’s ground out brought home Wiki Gonzalez, but the Indians already had five runs by then.

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