Seattle starter James Paxton (third inning) and newcomer Drew Storen (seventh) both issued bases-loaded walks, all the edge the Pittsburgh Pirates required Wednesday night in their 10-1 throttling of the Mariners at PNC Park (box). The Mariners (51-49) botched their shot at a series sweep, which would have been their fifth of the season.
Paxton (3-6, 4.27) crumbled in the third when he allowed two doubles, a triple, hit a batter and walked Jung Ho Kang with the sacks full, staking the Pirates to a 3-0 lead. Storen, acquired Tuesday night from Toronto, threw a flawless sixth, getting three ground-ball outs, but lived up to his 6.21 ERA in the seventh when he allowed three singles and walked Starling Marte with the bases loaded.
Manager Scott Servais pulled Storen, and reliever Nathan Karns promptly ceded a first-pitch, three-run double to Kang, draining any remaining drama.
Aside from the Paxton-Storen meltdowns, the Mariners had only one significant opportunity against Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole. Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, LF Nori Aoki opened with a double to right. RF Seth Smith grounded out, sending Aoki to third. 2B Robinson Cano made it 3-1 with a sac fly, but 3B Kyle Seager grounded out to second as the Mariners failed to take advantage of their only chance at a big inning.
The Mariners couldn’t do anything of consequence against Cole, who allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks in the first complete game of his major league career. It also marked the first complete game against the Mariners this year . . . Aoki had two hits, both doubles, to hike his batting average to .253 . . .The Mariners went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded three.
Paxton worked five innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits, leaving with a 3-1 deficit. He threw 97 pitches, 62 for strikes, and his ERA jumped to 4.27 . . . Storen, acquired in a trade that sent Joaquin Benoit to Toronto, made his Mariners debut in the sixth, couldn’t survive the seventh when he allowed four earned runs in a span of 35 pitches . . . David Rollins allowed three runs in his only inning, a three-run homer to Andrew McCutcheon.
“(Gerrit) Cole threw the ball really good. He got in a good groove and they played outstanding defense behind him. (James) Paxton battled, it wasn’t like he gave up. I thought he competed well. He just wasn’t quite as sharp in that third inning. Storen is going to help us, no doubt, but I probably pushed him too far in that second inning. But I liked what I saw. He can help us.” — Servais
The Mariners fell to 10-4 in interleague play and to 3-1 against the Pirates . . . The Mariners are 16-11-6 in overall series . . . Wednesday’s game was Seattle’s 100th of the season. The Mariners are 51-49. A year ago after 100, they were 46-54 . . . Servais said that Taijuan Walker (foot tendinitis), who threw a simulated game Wednesday, will need at least one rehab start, then re-evaluated, before a decision is made as to when he will come off the disabled list. Walker is on track for an early-August activation . . . Nelson Cruz received the day off after fouling a pitch off his leg Tuesday night . . . Ichiro Suzuki, who starred for the Mariners from 2001-12 and is nearing his 3,000th MLB hit, did not play Wednesday in Miami’s 11-1 win over the Philadelphia Philles. Ichiro remains three hits away at 2,997.
The Mariners, idle Thursday, begin a three-game, weekend set against the Chicago Cubs at 11:20 a.m., PT Friday at Wrigley Field. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 3.96) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Jon Lester (10-4, 3.09). The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday for a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox.