Mariners go down meekly to Padres, 2-0
Edinson Volquez pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double as the Mariners lost their final interleague game this season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Oakland @ Seattle, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
SAN DIEGO — A Mariners trip that began with a barrage of base hits in the desert ended with a meek showing Sunday at Petco Park.
Seattle was shut out for the eighth time this season, ending the interleague portion of its schedule with a 2-0 loss to the San Diego Padres. Edinson Volquez and three relievers limited the Mariners to just five hits — two by starting pitcher Hector Noesi.
Noesi, however, suffered his sixth straight loss and dropped to 2-9, tied for the most defeats in the majors. Manager Eric Wedge felt Noesi showed improvement in his six innings, but with the Mariners' offense stifled, he couldn't overcome the two-run double by Alexi Amarista in the fourth.
"I thought Hector threw the ball better today," Wedge said. "He was much more consistent with everything. He repeated his delivery, he was down, did a better job with two strikes, mixed all his pitches. They made him work a little bit, too. I was really pleased with the way he pitched today."
In the fourth, the Padres loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles. Noesi initially escaped damage — possibly physical damage — when he threw up his glove in self-defense to snare a screaming line drive by Cameron Maybin.
"It was quick, man," said Noesi, who turned his head out of the way and stuck up his glove. "When you're out there pitching, you don't know what's going to happen. It can be scary."
That brought up the left-handed hitting Amarista, listed at 5 feet 7, 150 pounds, though Padres insiders say he's really more like 5-5 or 5-4. One local writer has dubbed him "The Jockey."
He rode Noesi's first pitch the opposite way over the head of left fielder Casper Wells — who was shaky in his retreat — and landed it on the warning track. The ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double that brought in the only runs the Padres would need.
"He got a good piece of it, so I just had to turn and run," Wells said. "I was playing pretty shallow on him. I played it like it was going to slice, but it stayed pretty true and I wasn't able to catch up to it."
Wells said he had to play in to try to take away a hit.
"If he gets a good piece like that, that's what you're forced to deal with," he said. "You can't have one fall in and have two runs score there. Unfortunately that's the way it fell."
Meanwhile, the Mariners didn't have much fall as they lost for the fifth time in six games to the Padres, who have the second-worst record in the majors. Seattle finished 8-10 in interleague games, its first losing season against the NL since 1999. And the Mariners' record on the trip was 2-4.
"It's frustrating when you lose," said first baseman Justin Smoak. "You want to tip your cap to their guy, but we got to do a better job of scoring runs, that's the bottom line."
Smoak's frustrations typified the Mariners' efforts against Volquez (4-7), who blanked them over 6-2/3 innings. Facing a shift that featured the shortstop pulled over to the right side and the second baseman in short right field, Smoak lost two potential hits to the alignment.
"I've seen it a bunch already," Smoak shrugged. "You just got to keep having good at-bats and hit the ball hard. I feel like I've had good at-bats. I felt like I've hit the ball hard. It's just one of those times it's not falling now."
The most costly instance came in the eighth inning after Kyle Seager had delivered a pinch-hit double with one out. Smoak roped a liner past the first baseman, but right to the second baseman, pulled far over to his left. Seager was doubled off the base to end the inning.
"He got beat by it twice today," Wedge said of Smoak. "I'm pretty sure that's why Seager got picked off. He saw it go over the first baseman's head, and the second baseman is in short right field."
It wasn't a good sign that Noesi was a major part of the Mariners' offense. He singled to right with one out in the third — the first hit of his career in his third at-bat — and moved to second on an Ichiro single. But John Jaso flied out to left and Wells struck out.
Noesi singled again with two outs in the fifth, followed by an Ichiro walk, but Jaso flied out to deep center.
The Mariners finished the six-game swing against NL West foes with a .276 average and 18 extra-base hits.
"We swung the bats well on this road trip," Wedge said. "We had a chance to take this series and be even on the road, but it just wasn't falling for us today. But I liked our at-bats, for the most part. We gave a couple away, but for the most part we had a lot of quality at-bats today."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.