Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners strikes out with two runners on base in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Safeco Field on June 26, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Pirates defeated the Mariners 4-2. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAFECO FIELD - Raul Ibanez hit his fourth home run in four games to even Wednesday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 2-2 in the sixth inning.
But no other member of the Seattle Mariners could deliver the clutch hit necessary for Seattle to break the tie and earn a victory over the Pirates. Instead, Pittsburgh delivered the key knock in the ninth inning to earn a 4-2 victory over the Mariners.
Kendrys Morales doubled and the Pirates elected to intentionally walk Ibanez to put a pair of runners on with one out in the eighth inning. But the Mariners offense faltered once again. Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro struck out Justin Smoak and forced a fly out to left field from Michael Saunders to end the Mariners threat.
Pedro Alvarez singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Neil Walker in the ninth inning. Then after an intentional walk of Travis Snider, Jordy Mercer singled to center to score Alvarez and give the Pirates the lead. A wild pitch from Yoervis Medina allowed another run to score and provide Pittsburgh some additional insurance.
For Mariners manager Eric Wedge, he's tired of Ibanez being the only consistent threat in the team's lineup.
"We've got to hit. It's time to hit," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "You're not going to win games unless you hit. They got the two-out hit. We didn't. Game over. That's the difference."
"I'm tired of talking about approach, mechanics or whatever. You've got to hit. We can break it down 10 times and 10 times again," he added. "We've been doing that for 2 1-2 years. There were reasons the first year and reasons last year. This year we've had a couple injuries.
"Outside of that there are no reasons. Injuries are big _ don't get me wrong _ but you can't use them as excuses. You've got to go out and hit. If you're playing, you're here, you've got to hit. Otherwise you're not going to win ballgames."
Turning Point: Jordy Mercer's RBI single was the deathblow for Seattle but being unable to deliver a base hit with the go-ahead run on second in the eighth inning was the biggest regret Seattle will take away from the game.
Player Of The Game: Neil Walker. He went 2 for 3 on Wednesday with a single, home run and sacrifice bunt to put the go-ahead run in scoring position for Pittsburgh in the eighth inning.
Next Up: The Mariners start a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26 ERA) will take on LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA)