Starting pitcher Joe Saunders #23 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Safeco Field on June 25, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAFECO FIELD - The Seattle Mariners chances against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night were dashed early as the Pirates battered starter Joe Saunders for six runs and chased him from the end of the game before he could get out of the second inning.
Starling Marte hit a leadoff triple and scored to give Pittsburgh and early 1-0 lead before everything fell apart in the second inning. Russell Martin led off the second with a home run to increase the lead to 2-0. After a strikeout of Pedro Alvarez, Tony Sanchez singled and Neil Walker walked to put two runners on. Brandon Inge then delivered a three-run home run to clear the bases. Marte added a solo home run in the next at-bat as the Pirates surged to a 6-0 lead.
Saunders (5-8) would get one more out before allowing a double to Andrew McCutchen and was promptly pulled from the game.
Marte and Gaby Sanchez each added solo home runs later in the game off Mariners pitchers as the Pirates cruised to 9-4 win.
Kyle Seager hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and Justin Smoak added a two-run shot in the ninth inning for Seattle.
Jeff Locke improved to 7-1 on the year allowing four hits and two runs over seven innings of work for Pittsburgh.
Turning Point: While Starling Marte tripling and scoring in the first inning and Russell Martin homering to lead off the second put the Pirates ahead early, it was the three-run home run from Brandon Inge that really put the nail in the coffin early for the Mariners. Marte's first home run in the next AB was just icing on the cake.
Player Of The Game: Starling Marte. It looked like he was on his way to the cycle after racking up a triple and a home run in his first two at-bats. While he wouldn't get the cycle, he finished with a 3 for 5 night with two runs, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored.
Next Up: The Mariners wrap up the quick two-game series with the Pirates with a 12:40 p.m. start on Wednesday. Seattle sends RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.71 ERA) to the mound to take on RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 3.07 ERA).