SAN DIEGO -- Taijuan Walker and four relievers combined to shut out the Padres on three hits Wednesday as the Mariners took both games of the series at Petco Park with a 7-0 Interleague victory.
Walker threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The 22-year-old is 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA with 51 strikeouts and three walks over his last seven starts. Seattle held the Padres to no runs and four hits over 18 innings in the two games and won the season series, 3-1.
"He was great," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said after pulling his young starter after 76 pitches. "Listen, he probably didn't deserve to come out of the game. I'm sure he's ticked off at me for that. But we have to manage him the best way we can."
James Shields (7-3, 4.14 ERA) took his third straight loss for the Padres, allowing four hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Both runs came courtesy of Robinson Cano, who laced a solo homer in the sixth, an RBI single in the seventh and an RBI double in the ninth in a 4-for-5 day. Nelson Cruz added his 20th homer of the season -- on his 35th birthday -- with a two-run shot in Seattle's four-run ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turning the calendar page? After hitting just .238 with four homers and 24 RBIs in the season's first three months, Cano opened July with a 4-for-5 outing that included a solo home run leading off the sixth for Seattle's first run off Shields. Cano launched an opposite-field shot on a 1-2 fastball, sending it over the left-center fence for his third long ball in the past eight games. But while the six-time All-Star has shown signs of heating up a bit at least power-wise, he was 1-for-14 in the first four games of this road trip until notching his season high for hits (4) and RBIs (3) as he hiked his average to .247.
"I hope so," McClendon said when asked if this might jumpstart Cano. "I can't think of a better way, four hits with a home run and some ribbies, scored some runs. I think he even ran the bases today."
Shields keeps it close: After giving up two singles and a walk in the fourth, Shields struck out Franklin Gutierrez and Austin Jackson back-to-back with the bases loaded and one out to keep the Mariners from scoring early. Shields was perfect for the first three frames and had a shutout going until Cano's leadoff homer in the sixth.
Taijuan terrific again: Walker continued his recent roll with another gem. The 22-year-old followed up rookie Mike Montgomery's one-hit shutout on Tuesday with his own dominant performance, holding the Padres to one hit over six scoreless innings before being replaced by pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley in the top of the seventh. San Diego's only baserunners against Walker came in the fourth when he hit Derek Norris on the wrist and then gave up a sharp single up the middle by Yonder Alonso. But the young right-hander dug in there, getting Justin Upton and Yangervis Solarte to pop out, to preserve the shutout bid. More >
"The fastball was working good," Walker said. "I felt like I had my best command today, and they weren't really on it. They were struggling to catch up to it. So we just kept with the fastball. Then the last couple innings, we mixed in the changeup a little more and kept them off balance."
Venable's arm saves run: In the top of the seventh inning, Cano hit an RBI single to bring in Brad Miller and give the Mariners a 2-0 lead. But with Ackley running from second, outfielder Will Venable threw from center field to save another run, throwing Ackley out at home.
"It gives us a chance to win three in a row" -- McClendon, when asked about the impact of winning two straight for the first time since June 19-20 in Houston
"We got to give credit to the pitchers, but we have work to do to become a better offensive club. There's no breaks. We are going into a pretty significant road trip. This one hurts, yesterday hurt. To be honest with you, they all hurt when you don't win, but these two put an accent on some things we really need to work on" -- interim manager Pat Murphy
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Walker went 0-for-1 with a sacrifice in his two plate appearances as Seattle's pitchers continued a long hitless streak in Interleague Play. Mariners pitchers are 0-for-13 this year and 0-for-48 with four walks and eight sacrifice bunts dating back to June 24, 2012, when Hector Noesi had two singles at Petco Park.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Roenis Elias (4-5, 4.25 ERA) will be on the mound as Seattle opens a four-game series in Oakland with a 7:05 p.m. PT contest on Thursday against left-hander Scott Kazmir. Elias has filled in well since Hisashi Iwakuma went on the DL in late April, though he's 1-2 with a 10.29 ERA in his last three outings.
Padres:Tyson Ross (5-7, 3.57 ERA) will start on Thursday against St. Louis (4:15 p.m. PT) as the Padres play the first game of a 10-game road trip before the All-Star break. The right-hander is coming off a 4-2 win against Arizona where he pitched six innings, allowing two hits and two runs. Ross improved in May and June after a rough April, as he finished that month with a 4.55 ERA. Ross has been solid on the road this season with a 2.91 ERA.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.