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Hitting woes irk Wedge as Pirates beat Mariners

Jordy Mercer hits a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning. (Associated Press)
Jordy Mercer hits a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning. (Associated Press)
By Curtis Crabtree Associated Press

SEATTLE – Mariners manager Eric Wedge is tired of seeing 41-year-old Raul Ibanez get the only big hits for Seattle.

Ibanez homered for the fourth time in four games, but Seattle missed a couple of late chances and lost to Pittsburgh 4-2 Wednesday. The Pirates won their season-high sixth in a row. With the score 2-all, Seattle put two runners on with one out in the eighth inning. Reliever Vin Mazzaro (4-2) struck out Justin Smoak and got Michael Saunders to fly out to end the threat.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the ninth off relievers Charlie Furbush (1-4) and Yoervis Medina to pick up the victory. Jordy Mercer singled home the go-ahead run.

“We’ve got to hit. It’s time to hit,” Wedge said. “You’re not going to win games unless you hit. They got the two-out hit. We didn’t. Game over. That’s the difference.”

Struggles at the plate have been a constant theme for the Mariners long before Wedge took over in 2011. Now in his third season as the Mariners’ manager, Wedge is fed up with the lack of offensive output.

“I’m tired of talking about approach, mechanics or whatever,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to hit. We can break it down 10 times and 10 times again. We’ve been doing that for 21/2 years. There were reasons the first year and reasons last year. This year we’ve had a couple injuries. Outside of that there are no reasons.

“Injuries are big – don’t get me wrong – but you can’t use them as excuses. You’ve got to go out and hit. If you’re playing, you’re here, you’ve got to hit. Otherwise you’re not going to win ballgames.”

Mark Melancon earned his second save. Mike Zunino delivered a pinch-hit single and Nick Franklin singled to put two on with two outs in the ninth, but Kyle Seager grounded out.

Felix Hernandez bounced back to form after his worst start of the season. He blew a seven-run lead against the Los Angeles Angels in his previous appearance, but struck out 11 against the Pirates. His only blemish of the afternoon came when Neil Walker hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

“I had pretty good command on my fastball and the breaking ball was a little better,” Hernandez said.

Seattle managed to get a run back in the bottom of the fourth without a hit. Ibanez reached first after swinging at a third strike wild pitch that got away from catcher Russell Martin, then Smoak hit a grounder and Mercer mishandled the throw to second.

Ibanez took advantage of the Pirates’ defensive shift and advanced to a vacated third base on the misplay. A sacrifice fly from Saunders made it 2-1.

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