Rookie RF Mitch Haniger’s one-out double in the ninth inning ended the no-hit bid by Wei-Yin Chen and two relievers as the Miami Marlins smothered the Mariners’ four-game winning streak with a 5-0 win Tuesday night at Safeco Field (box). Chen lasted seven innings and 100 pitches (64 strikes) in his third game of the season before manager Don Mattingly pulled the 31-year-old left-hander from Taiwan.
Chen, who spent four years with Baltimore before the most recent two in Miami, had career numbers of 52-37 and 3.94 ERA entering the game. He struck out three, walked two and hit a batter as 16,126 watched the tension build. Chen had pitched only nine innings this season, so Mattingly chose the conservative route and brought in veteran Brad Ziegler for the eighth. He retired the side easily.
In the ninth, closer Kyle Barraclough entered the game and struck out pinch-hitter Mike Freeman. But Haninger ended the bid for a no-hitter rarity — MLB has seen only 11 combined efforts — by hitting a no-doubt double off a 1-2 fastball to the right-center wall.
Mattingly said he didn’t want to risk injury to Chen.
“This guy had a UCL tear last year, and he’s coming back.” he said. “He’s been healthy. but I’m not going to let him go 130 (pitches). He hits a guy, then walks a guy in the (seventh) and is in deep counts each guy.
“So we knew his location was leaving, and in our minds, he had no chance to make it nine innings. At that point the best thing for us was to get a guy in there.”
Mattingly thought the chances were good for a no-no.
“I thought we felt like we were close and had a good shot tonight,” he said. “Once we got through the eighth there, and they hit a couple of those dribblers and we were able to get outs. Then they got a clean hit.
“You do feel like you’re fairly close. But it doesn’t seem the same when it’s between three guys.”
Seattle was limited to one hit for the 23rd time in club history (last was July 24 at Toronto). They averted the fifth no-hitter against them at Safeco when Haniger extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
“We expanded the strike zone a little to help him,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais, “but you have to tip your cap to Chen. We didn’t make quick adjustments to what he what he was doing. His change-up was very good and he kept us off-balance.”