The Seattle Mariners (36-35) turned to their bullpen on Wednesday night to shut down the San Diego Padres (31-39) just long enough to squeeze out a 4-3 win.
Young Seattle right-hander Brandon Morrow had his longest outing of the season. He went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits.
The Mariners have been trying to work Morrow into a starter after he missed significant time earlier this year with arm troubles. In two previous starts, he went three and four innings, respectively.
Morrow sat down the Padres one-two-three in the first inning.
After an Adrian Gonzalez single to leadoff the second, Kevin Kouzmanoff stroked a two-run home run to give the Padres an early 2-0 lead.
Seattle rallied in the bottom half of the inning.
With runners on first and second and just one out, Ichiro slapped a single into left field. Recently activated Jerry Hairston came up firing and was able to throw out Yunieski Betancourt on a close play at the plate.
The replays showed that Betancourt reached the plate before he was tagged, but home plate umpire Randy Marsh saw the play differently.
Russell Branyon stepped up next and answered for the Mariners. He blasted a moon-shot three-run home run to dead center field, his 18th of the season, for a 3-2 lead.
After that, a Betancourt double in the third and an Adrian Beltre single in the seventh were the lone hits for the next five innings as the Padres pitching shut down the Mariners offense.
Morrow looked good for the next two innings and let just on Padres hitter reach base when he walked Gonzalez in the fourth. He was able to get Kouzmanoff to ground into a double play to end the inning.
But Morrow was touched up for another run when Tony Gwynn singled home Will Venable with two outs in the fifth to knot the score at three. It was the last batter Morrow saw, as Eliezer Alfonzo was thrown out trying to make it to third on the play.
The Mariners bullpen did an excellent job in relief to carry the team to victory.
Chris Jakubauskus and Sean White combined for three innings of one-hit, shutout baseball to hold the tie at three and allow the offense a chance to win the game.
Their effort was quickly rewarded.
Franklin Gutierrez launched a solo home run to leadoff the bottom of the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner. The screaming line drive landed in the Mariners bullpen beyond the left field wall and gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead.
Offseason acquisition David Aardsma came on in the ninth to seal the deal for the hometown Mariners. Aardsma, despite walking Chase Headley, struck out two Padres hitters to earn his 15th save in 16 attempts.
WP: S. White (2-0)
LP: E. Mujica (2-3)
Sv: D. Aardsma (15)
Other Notes from Wednesday night:
Taking the Friars Yard
Franklin Gutierrez’s eighth inning, go-ahead home run was his seventh this season, and his fourth off of San Diego pitching.
Ichiro Keeps on Rolling
Ichiro recorded two hits in the game, giving him 100 on the season in just his 63rd game.
He leads the AL in hits and multi-hit games (32).
King of the Ninth
David Aardsma pitched a scoreless ninth inning. He lowered his ERA to 1.57, good for second best amongst AL relievers.
He has also given up 0 runs in 23 of his last 24 appearances.
Another Starter Lost?
Yuniesky Betancourt pulled up lame in the eighth inning while trying to beat out a double play ball. He appeared to injure a muscle on his right leg.
Betancourt had pulled up lame earlier in the game on a Rob Johnson fly ball, but remained in the game until he injured the leg further.
Last Friday, leftfielder Endy Chavez was lost for the season when he blew out his knee and torn his ACL and MCL in a collision with Betancourt.