(Sports Network) – Seattle Mariners rookie Michael Pineda’s career may have started with a loss to Texas a month ago, but he has been unbeatable since. He’ll seek revenge against the only team to best him so far as he hopes to extend the Rangers’ season-worst losing streak to four straight games this evening at Safeco Field.
Seattle unveiled the 6-foot-7 Pineda to the baseball world on April 5 and the 22-year-old pitched well in his debut, giving up three runs on five hits over six innings before taking a close 3-2 setback to Texas.
“He has pretty good stuff for a young kid,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told Seattle’s website after that meeting. “He had a good fastball and a nice rhythm going out there, especially with runners on base. He threw some good changeups, some good splits. He was very impressive.”
The few teams to see Pineda since might agree. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.42 earned run average in his four starts since, striking out 26 batters over 25 1/3 innings in that span. He has also yet to allow a home run in any of his five starts, including his latest victory on Thursday versus the Tigers. Pineda held Detroit to a pair of runs on four hits and three walks over six innings, striking out a career-best nine.
“Great job of controlling the ballgame. Mixed his pitches well,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of his starting pitcher.
The Mariners took the opener of this three-game series on Tuesday, 4-3. Justin Smoak had three hits and drove in two runs, while Jack Cust singled through a drawn-in infield in the eighth inning to bring home Miguel Olivo for the game- winning run.
“That was big for [Cust], obviously big for us,” Wedge said. “Prior to that, he had some hard outs. Great to see him step up for us.”
David Pauley was in line for the loss before the Mariners rallied for two in the home eighth to vulture a win, Seattle’s sixth in seven games.
Texas, which has lost seven of its last nine overall, had the tying run on second in the ninth, but Brandon League got David Murphy to bounce out sharply to short to finish off his eighth save.
Elvis Andrus, Michael Young and Adrian Beltre all drove in runs for the Rangers, who had swept the Mariners in three-games at home a month ago and had a four-game series winning streak end.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz left the game early for Texas with tightness in his right quad.
C.J. Wilson will try to get back on track tonight when he takes the hill for the Rangers.
The 30-year-old won his first three decisions of the season before suffering a loss in Oakland on Friday. Wilson didn’t pitch poorly, giving up three runs — two earned — on nine hits and three walks over seven innings, but didn’t get much support on offense and defense in a 3-1 loss.
“I thought he did a great job, we just couldn’t support him,” Washington told Texas’ official website.
A 15-game winner last year, Wilson is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in six starts this year. The former reliever went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts versus Seattle a season ago.
Cust is 5-for-11 in his career versus Wilson with three RBI.