PITTSBURGH — As a junior at Gonzaga in 2013, Marco Gonzales went 7-3 with a 2.80 earned-run average on the mound and led the Zags at the plate with a .311 batting average and earned the John Olerud Award as college baseball’s best two-way player.
Which is a long way of saying this: The dude can hit a little.
Gonzales pitched one of his best games of the season and he had his first hit as a Mariner — a double off Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller — to carry the Mariners to a 6-0 victory to open their three-game series against the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The 27-year-old left-hander (16-11) won his 16th game of the season, which is quite a feat for last-place Seattle team (63-88) that is now 25 games under .500.
Indeed, Gonzales’ 16 wins account for 25.4% of the Mariners’ victory this season — the highest percentage of any pitcher in the majors this season.
“The one main goal was to make all my starts this year and to be a reliable guy for this team and just help us win ballgames,” Gonzales said. “We have a couple more to go. But I’m happy I stuck to that process. It’s been very relieving to have to commit to that and hopefully sustain that throughout my career.”
Gonzales’ final line Tuesday: seven innings, zero runs, six hits, four strikeouts, zero walks. He lowered his season ERA to 4.14.
It’s his first scoreless outing since April 25 against Texas, when he also threw seven shutout innings.
Gonzales’ 16 wins are the most by a Seattle pitcher since Felix Hernandez had 18 wins in 2015.
The Pirates’ Melky Cabrera and Jose Osuna open the seventh inning with back-to-back singles off Gonzales. But Gonzales escaped when he got Elias Diaz looking at an inside fastball for strike three; a line out by Colin Moran; and a pop out by Erik Gonzalez.
That ended Gonzales’ night. As he walked off the field, he pumped his left hand into his glove five times and pointed to catcher Omar Narvaez.
Narvaez, Austin Nola and Shed Long all homered for the Mariners.
Narvaez and Nola went back-to-back in the sixth off Pirates reliever Michael Feliz.
Nola, a 29-year-old rookie, has seven hits in his last two games following a 1-for-18 skid.
“You know how baseball goes,” Nola said. “It’s back-and-forth. You try to stay even and get some walks and work an at-bat and have a competitive at-bat. I think that’s what it comes down to.”
Long hit a … long … blast to right field that nearly left the park, ricocheting off the back railing.
Dee Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Narvaez for the Mariners’ first run, and Long singled off Keller in the fifth to drive in Gonzales in the fifth.
Kyle Lewis went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.