Mariners' offense busts loose in 6-0 win over Padres
Jason Vargas pitches a shutout as Seattle snaps three-game losing streak.
Seattle Times staff reporter
San Diego Padres @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT
On a night the Mariners turned back the clock, they dialed up some much-needed offense.
Seattle had scored three runs or fewer in 16 of its last 22 games, but needed just three innings eclipse that Friday night against San Diego. That proved to be more than enough support for starting pitcher Jason Vargas, who shut down the Padres and helped the Mariners snap a three-game losing streak with a 6-0 win in front of an announced crowd of 23,616 at Safeco Field.
"Vargas was outstanding tonight," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was hitting spots all night long."
Back on July 1, 1984, rookie left-hander Mark Langston took the mound for the Mariners and pitched a shutout on the road against Boston to pick up his sixth win of the season. Twenty-seven years later, wearing that 1984 uniform, Vargas — another lefty — started for Seattle and put together a performance to rival Langston's.
Vargas (6-5) struck out five of the first eight batters he faced and didn't allow a runner past first base during the complete-game effort. He scattered six hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.
"I was just throwin' strikes," Vargas said. "Early I was getting some guys out with some cutters and (was) able to go back to the changeup later, but just getting ahead of them."
Vargas rebounded from a tough start his last outing, when he gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings in a loss to Florida. He has followed each of his last three losses with shutouts.
"He's a command guy," Wedge said. "When he's throwing the ball where he wants to, he's tough. He repeats his delivery so well. He's very consistent with his arm action and he knows how to pitch."
The Mariners provided more run support for Vargas than they did for Langston in '84 — Seattle beat Boston, 1-0 — but one run would have been enough.
The Mariners' offense struck quickly. Brendan Ryan doubled off the wall in left-center with one out in the first, and Adam Kennedy drove him in with a single that slipped just past the outstretched arm of second baseman Orlando Hudson. Kennedy added an RBI double in the sixth.
In the third, the Mariners added three more runs after Jack Cust worked a bases-loaded walk — his sixth of the year — and Carlos Peguero drove in a pair with a single up the middle.
"No home runs but everybody sort of pitching in, walks, a couple of two-out RBI, Peguero with a big hit early — that was one of the bigger hits in the game — it was nice to get everybody involved," Kennedy said.
First baseman Justin Smoak took an 0-for-22 stretch into the fifth inning, but snapped it with a double to left-center. Cust drove him in with an RBI double down the right-field line.
"I felt, all around, this was a very good offensive performance by our guys," Wedge said. "They were up there and ready to hit. I liked the way they sprayed the ball around."
With Dustin Ackley getting a day off to rest bruised ribs, Kennedy started at second base and Chone Figgins played third. Figgins delivered on defense, making a nice backhand stab at a line drive to end the top of the third and starting a 5-4-3 double play to wrap up the seventh. He also singled up the middle in the fourth to snap a seven-game hitless streak.
"I thought Figgy had a very good, all-around game," Wedge said. "He was very good at third base, hit the ball well a couple of times, stole a base for us."
The Mariners snapped San Diego's four-game winning streak and continued to play well against the Padres, winning all four games against them so far this season.
• The Padres' Hudson fouled a pitch off his leg in the second inning. He suffered a shin bruise and is day to day.
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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