Aaron Harang provided the best reason yet why manager Eric Wedge stuck with the struggling starter so long. Harang threw a Memorial Day four-hitter against San Diego Sunday. Entering Monday with a 1-5, 8.58 record, Harang allowed a leadoff double but scattered just three hits thereafter as the Mariners romped 9-0, their second win in 24 hours.
The Mariners (22-29) had 11 hits, including home runs by Jason Bay, Michael Morse and Kelly Shoppach, and Harang did the rest, throwing his 14th career complete game and seventh shutout (first since April 12, 2009 against Pittsburgh). Winning for the first time since May 1, Harang struck out eight and walked two, throwing 80 of his 122 pitches for strikes.
Harang put a wrap on Seattle’s first complete game since April 29 (Joe Saunders) by striking out Chase Hedley with a curve ball, Carlos Quentin with a 92 mph fastball and inducing Yonder Alonso into a routine fly to left.
The victory marked Seattle’s most lopsided shutout win of the season (previously 6-0) and its largest since shellacking the L.A. Angels 12-0 on the final day of the 2012 regular season.
The Mariners won two in a row after dropping a season-high eight.
Bay, who hit a walk-off single in the 13th inning Sunday in Seattle’s 4-3 victory, homered to center off San Diego starter Clayton Richard on a 2-1 count for a 1-0 Mariners lead. Morse, following a full-count walk to Kyle Seager and a double by Kendrys Morales, parked a three-run shot to right for a 4-0 lead. It was his team-leading 11th of the season.
Shoppach added his third homer of the season in the fourth, extending Seattle’s lead to 5-0.
Using small ball, the Mariners tacked on four in the seventh, Brendan Ryan and Bay coming home on a Morales single, Seager scooting across on a wild pitch and Ibanez rapping a run-scoring double.
Morales had three of Seattle’s 11 hits, drove in a pair and raised his batting average to .301. Morse had two hits as did Endy Chavez, who is batting .310.
The Mariners and Padres play the second of two at Safeco Tuesday night. Brandon Maurer (2-6, 6.80) will work for Seattle opposite Edinson Volquez (3-5, 5.76). The Mariners and Padres then change venues with games at Petco Park Wednesday and Thursday.
NOTES: The Mariners made multiple roster moves prior to Monday’s game, optioning 2B Dustin Ackley and LHP Lucas Luetge to AAA Tacoma and calling up RHP Hector Noesi and INF Nick Franklin. The Mariners also designated OF Francisco Martinez for assignment. Ackley, hitting .205, was in an 0-for-19 slump. Franklin entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning Monday and walked in his first MLB at-bat.
Just as I was ready to see Harang hit the road he goes and pitches a shutout. Why do I think he’s going to give up 15 earned runs without getting a batter out in his next start? The baseball gods are screwing with us. It could be addition by subtraction is having the desired effect though. Not having Montero, Ackley and Smoak in the lineup allows us to score 9 runs. Not having Andino aboard allows Ryan to recross the Mendoza Line.
Hope Harang isn’t the 2013 rendition of Jeff Weaver, who was good in interleague play but not much else for the M’s. He’s been dependable the past couple years. If he can match those numbers for the M’s it’ll be a big help but again, those numbers were in the NL. Hard to say if he can adapt to the AL.
It’s always a question of consistency. Thanks for your comments.