Outing from Noesi not enough as offense shut out

Outing from Noesi not enough as offense shut out

Outing from Noesi not enough as offense shut out
SAN DIEGO -- Interleague Play, historically, has been kind to the Mariners, but the Padres put a crimp in that tradition by completing a one-sided series against Seattle with a 2-0 victory Sunday at Petco Park.

Other than a two-run double in the fourth by Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista, a career .195 hitter, the Mariners played their National League counterparts to a draw in the last of their six meetings this season. But the "natural rivalry series" ended the way it began for Seattle: in frustrating fashion.

"We were just on the tough luck side of things," manager Eric Wedge said after his team ended a 2-4 road trek in quiet fashion. "We swung the bats well on this road trip. We had a chance to take this series and be even on the road, but it just wasn't falling for us today."

San Diego won five of six games against the Mariners, flip-flopping last year's 5-1 advantage by Seattle.

The Mariners finished Interleague Play with an 8-10 mark, snapping a string of 12 consecutive seasons in which they posted at least a .500 record in the crossover games. That was the second-longest streak in the Majors behind only the Yankees' 15-year streak.

The Mariners totaled just five hits -- two of those by starting pitcher Hector Noesi -- on a sunny afternoon in San Diego as they fell to 31-43.

Noesi gave up seven hits and three walks, with at least one hit in each of his six innings of work, but spread the trouble around enough to hold the Padres at two runs.

Noesi loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, then saved himself momentarily by snaring a sharp line drive hit right back at him by Cameron Maybin with a reflexive stab. Noesi had the presence of mind to not only catch the hot shot, but bounced up quickly and nearly doubled the runner off second on the play.

But the Padres did damage on the next batter when Amarista ripped his ground-rule double that got over the head of left fielder Casper Wells and bounded into the stands, scoring two runs.

Wells said he was playing shallow against Amarista, who is generously listed at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds.

"Bases loaded with a guy like that, you've got to take your chance," Wells said. "If he gets a good piece like that, that's what you're forced to deal with. You can't have one fall in and have two runs score there. Unfortunately that's the way it went. But definitely good pitching on both sides. Hector did a great job. And a great job with the bat, too."

The Mariners couldn't muster much against Edinson Volquez, who held them scoreless for his 6 2/3 innings of work.

Noesi was the only Mariners baserunner to advance to second against Volquez. He did so in both the third and fifth innings, but was stranded there.

Kyle Seager, who didn't start because of a sore calf, had a pinch-hit double in the eighth, but got doubled off when Justin Smoak hit a line drive that was snared in short right field by second baseman Amarista, thanks to the Padres' defensive shift.

Smoak also grounded out into the teeth of the shift in the sixth inning when the Padres played their shortstop over on the right side of the infield, seeing a likely 2-for-4 day turn into an 0-fer afternoon.

"I felt like I hit a hard ground ball that would normally be in the three-hole that was right at him," Smoak said. "That last one, I thought it was a base hit over the first baseman's head. And he's standing there."

The Padres aren't the first team to use the shift on Smoak, as that trend has been increasing throughout baseball.

"He got beat by it twice today," said Wedge. "I'm pretty sure that's why Seager got picked off. He saw it go over the first baseman's head, and the second baseman is in short right field. He has to be aware of that, obviously. That's a tough call. You just have to do what you do. You hit through it, you find spots, and he'll do that. I thought he had some good swings today as well."

Ironically, it was Noesi who seemed to get the most of his swings. The 25-year-old right-hander came into the game with just two Major League at-bats -- both strikeouts earlier this year -- but now can boast a .500 career average until Interleague Play resumes next season. Seattle's pitchers finished 5-for-22 (.227) with two runs, two doubles, three RBIs and 11 strikeouts in Interleague road games.

Noesi said it was his first hit since Winter League ball in Venezuela.

"I just tried," he said. "And that happened."

Noesi hasn't won a game in his last nine outings, going 0-6 with a 5.08 ERA. He's now 2-9 with a 5.50 ERA overall and has yet to win a road game in nine chances.

"He's been inconsistent like most first-year pitchers," said Wedge, "but he's better than his win-loss record."

Volquez is now 2-5 in his last eight starts for the Padres, both wins coming against Seattle. He also topped the Mariners on June 14 when he went 6 2/3 innings with just one run.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.