Mariners’ Harang pitches well in 4-2 loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH — On a night when scoring one run was a chore for the Seattle Mariners, falling behind by more than one run late in the game pretty much meant victory was out of the question.

And unfortunately, Carter Capps couldn’t keep the Mariners within a run. The hard-throwing right-hander gave up a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to Garrett Jones that turned a 2-1 game into a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday at PNC Park.

Jones got a 94-mph fastball over the middle of the plate and belted a line drive into the right field seats. Capps was furious on the mound and still clearly upset after the game. Watching the replays on video with catcher Kelly Shoppach brought little solace.

“I looked at it,” Capps said. “Shoppy said it was middle-in but it looked more middle-middle to me. It can’t happen.”

It did. And the Mariners were done.

A one-run deficit in the ninth is doable. A three-run deficit was too much to overcome particularly against Pirates closer Jason Grilli and the 0.69 earned run average he brought to the game. Grilli retired the Mariners in order with two strikeouts to notch his major league leading 13th save of the season.

“It’s tough to have that late,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Jones’ home run. “You are working hard to keep it a one-run game. You feel if you do keep it a one run game, you have a chance because anything can happen in the ninth inning. Their guy put up a good at-bat, got a good pitch to hit and took care of it.”

Despite Capps’ high velocity on his fastball, both he and Wedge admitted he has to do something different against left-handed batters. In 24 plate appearances, lefties have nine hits off Capps — three of them doubles and two of them homers.

“I think he needs to make some adjustments,” Wedge said. “I know (pitching coach Carl Willis) has talked to Carter about it. We went through the same thing with Pryor a little bit. The league shows what you need to work on and what you need to do. He has some weapons in his arsenal to compete better against left-handers.”

Capps knows what those weapons are and how he has to use them. Capps threw a few breaking pitches to Jones in the at-bat but he could never get a swing and miss with them.

“I need to get them looking for something other than a fastball,” he said. “Right now they are sitting dead red on the fastball and taking uncomfortable swings on everything else. But I didn’t execute with that fastball.”

To be fair, the homer Capps allowed didn’t lose the game for the Mariners. Even if it still had been one run a one-run deficit in the ninth, there was a low chance they would have done something, based on the way their offense struggled the previous eight innings.

Seattle did little or nothing against Pirates emergency starter Jeanmar Gomez. Right-hander James McDonald was originally scheduled to start. However, about 11⁄2 hours before game time, the Pirates placed McDonald on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and picked Gomez, a long reliever, to make his second start of the season.

The Mariners had to scramble at the last second to find scouting reports and some limited video to prepare for Gomez.

“Not much, it was such a last-minute switch,” Wedge said of information on Gomez.

The hitters just tried to figure it out as they went, talking to each other after at-bats after looking at the limited info they had on Gomez.

“It’s tough,” second baseman Dustin Ackley said. “Everybody has scouting reports and you have to just go up there and trust what little you know about the guy.”

Gomez pitched well, throwing five shutout innings and allowing just two hits while walking two and striking out five.

“It wasn’t anything crazy,” Ackley said of Gomez’s stuff. “He located things well. Doesn’t matter what kind of stuff you have, if you locate the ball and move it up and down and in and out, you will have success.”

The Mariners played from behind after the first inning. Starter Aaron Harang gave up two runs in the first on an RBI double from Mill Creek native Travis Snider and another RBI double from Andrew McCutchen, who went 4-for-4 in the game.

It looked like Harang might have another gruesome start like he had in Texas earlier this season. But he righted himself and pitched five scoreless innings after that.

“He was really good,” Wedge said. “Those the last three innings in particular — that’s as probably as good as we’ve seen him. He’s starting to put it together. It was nice to see him get it locked in there.”

After being in baseball purgatory coming out of spring training and not pitching in a game until being signed by the Mariners, Harang (1-4) feels a little more normal now that he’s five starts into the season.

“With the three weeks off at the beginning season, I was just trying to find a rhythm,” he said. “We’ve done our work trying to figure things out. Obviously, the last two starts have shown that’s where I need to be at.”

The Mariners lone run came in the seventh. Dustin Ackley hit a one-out single off lefty reliever Tony Watson and advanced to second on Kelly Shoppach’s ground ball out. With two outs, Wedge called on Jesus Montero to pinch hit for Brendan Ryan.

Once Montero was announced, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle called on right-hander Jose Contreras to pitch Montero. Wedge then made a countermove and brought in Raul Ibanez to pinch hit for Montero. Ibanez was 9-for-15 in his career against Contreras coming into the game. He improved that to 10-for-16, lacing a double to the gap to score Ackley.

That was all the offense the Mariners mustered. Endy Chavez pinch hit for Harang and grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

“That was the one inning we had a chance to do something,” Wedge said. “We were going to try and give it every opportunity we could. We got the matchups we wanted. We pushed it and just came up a little bit short.”

More in Sports

Mariner’s Paxton is focusing on staying healthy this season

The Seattle pitcher has made changes to his lifestyle in hopes of staying on the field longer.

No. 9 Gonzaga holds off Pepperdine 81-67

Johnathan Williams has 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to victory.

Saturday’s prep results, links to recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL 4A District 1 Tournament At Everett Community College Saturday’s game… Continue reading

Patterson: Welcome to the golden age of EvCC hoops

Both the men and women are in position to make the NWAC Championships for just the 3rd time in school history.

BLOG: Seattle coach Matt O’Dette has choice words following 4-3 OT loss

The Everett Silvertips crossed a mental hurdle Friday as they won in… Continue reading

Prep basketball: Archbishop Murphy girls lose district title game

The Burlington-Edison girls basketball team jumped all over Archbishop… Continue reading

Everett’s Matt Fonteyne controls the puck in the first period against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Showare Center Friday night in Kent February 16, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Silvertips rally back to beat rival T-birds in OT

Everett blows two leads, but Kindopp’s goal in the extra period lifts the Tips over Seattle 4-3.

Wrestling administrator pondering changes to Mat Classic

The WIAA’s Brian Smith talks about changes he has made and more he would like to see.

Huskies try to regroup after 3-game losing streak

UW is set to face Colorado with the goal of getting back on track on the defensive end of the floor.

Most Read