Hedges, Renfroe homer, Padres top free-falling Mariners 5-4
By TODD MILLES
SEATTLE (AP) – The Padres opened their bullpen gate and slammed the door on the Mariners’ chances of a comeback.
Four San Diego relievers set a franchise record by striking out nine consecutive batters, preserving a two-run lead in the Padres’ 5-4 victory over Seattle on Wednesday.
Trey Wingenter struck out the side in the sixth in relief of Joey Lucchesi. Robert Stock fanned pinch-hitter Ben Gamel, the only batter he faced. Jose Castillo whiffed the next two batters in the seventh and Robinson Cano to start the eighth. And Craig Stammen completed the run by getting Nelson Cruz looking and Ryon Healy swinging.
The totals: nine batters faced, 42 pitches, 31 strikes, zero balls in play.
“A lot of really good slider strikes early (in the count),” Padres manager Andy Green said. “You see what the fastball does after they’ve seen those sliders – it just blows by those guys.”
Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe hit long home runs for the Padres, who finished off a two-game sweep of the fast-sinking Mariners.
The Padres swept the interleague season series against the Mariners after taking two games in San Diego on Aug. 28-29. It was the first time since the two teams started meeting annually in 1997 that either club won every game in a season.
“For us to be successful, you are going to have to do that to five or six teams in the season,” Green said. “That will be big if we start doing things like that.”
The Mariners have lost 10 of 15 since Aug. 26 to fall out of contention for the AL wild card.
“Certainly we have not had a good run,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Hedges helped the Padres jump on Wade LeBlanc early with a two-run homer to left field in the second inning, ending the left-hander’s 19-inning scoreless streak. Eric Hosmer reached leading off the inning on shortstop Gordon Beckham’s errant throw.
Cruz homered for the Mariners, his 35th of the season, and drove in his 1,000th career run. He’s one of 11 active players to reach that total.
Wil Myers put the Padres ahead 3-0 with an RBI double to right-center in the third.
Seattle’s infield defense was sloppy again in the fifth. With two outs, third baseman Kyle Seager’s throw on Myers’ ground ball skipped short of Healy in the dirt. It was Seattle’s third error of the game and its ninth during the eight-game homestand.
Renfroe followed with a home run to left, his 22nd of the season.
“We’ve been there. Everybody has been there – putting guys on base with the unforced error, or the walk,” Renfroe said. “It is very deflating. … We were on the good end of it this time.”
Lucchesi (8-8) allowed three runs on six hits in five innings, winning his second start of the season against the Mariners.
The Mariners’ run of futility at the plate ended in the ninth when Seager led off with a homer against Kirby Yates, who then settled down to earn his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
Mitch Haniger had a run-scoring triple in the fifth, and Cano followed with an RBI groundout before Cruz’s homer.
LeBlanc (8-4) allowed five runs, two earned, on four hits in five innings.
Padres: San Diego had a surprise leadoff hitter Wednesday – catcher Francisco Mejia, who was playing his seventh game with the team after being promoted from Triple-A El Paso. With Luis Urias injured, manager Andy Green said he doesn’t have a settled leadoff hitter against left-handers.
Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said he wanted to throw a “few different faces” at Lucchesi after he struck out nine in six-plus innings in his previous start against Seattle. Bench players Kristopher Negron, David Freitas and Beckham got starts Wednesday.
Padres: 2B Urias (left hamstring) was “moving around better than anticipated” before the game, Green said, adding that it was still a long shot the prospect would play again this season. Urias injured himself trying to beat out a ground ball in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Cory Spangenberg, Jose Pirela and Freddy Galvis will get playing time at second.
Mariners: A virus continues to do damage inside the clubhouse. SS Jean Segura sat out his second consecutive game and was unavailable to do any pregame work. LHP James Paxton is so sick that he won’t even travel with the team Thursday night. “His (scheduled) start Friday is a big question,” Servais said. … It’s also uncertain whether RHP Felix Hernandez (right hamstring) will take his turn or not this weekend. … With a shortage of healthy starters, Servais said it is likely one of the weekend games at the Los Angeles Angels will be a bullpen day. … LHP Marco Gonzales, who has logged a career-high 150 2/3 innings, will be on a limited pitch count over his final four starts.
Padres: LHP Robbie Erlin (3-6, 4.42 ERA) will switch places with LHP Eric Lauer and start the opener of a three-game series at the Texas Rangers on Friday. Lauer is now slotted for Saturday.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (9-9, 4.11) takes on the Angels on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series and a 10-game trip. Leake has a team-leading 18 quality starts and is seeking to win at least 10 games in back-to-back seasons.