Noesi surrenders four homers, offense stymied

Noesi surrenders four homers, offense stymied

Noesi surrenders four homers, offense stymied
SEATTLE -- After the Red Sox teed off for four home runs on Mariners starter Hector Noesi on Friday en route to a 5-0 victory at Safeco Field, manager Eric Wedge took a few swings of his own.

But Seattle's skipper was more upset with his team's continued lack of offense after veteran sinkerballer Aaron Cook breezed through the Mariners on just two hits in an 81-pitch effort for his first shutout since 2009.

"We were horrible tonight," Wedge said after his team endured its 10th shutout of the season. "We stunk up the joint. Nothing more to say. An [81]-pitch complete game, not to take anything away from that guy, but we can't make it that easy for him. Just brutal."

The loss dropped the Mariners to 33-46 on the season and 14-22 at home, where their hitting struggles continued. Seattle is batting .198 in 36 home games and has totaled five runs in the first five games of this homestand.

The Mariners managed just three baserunners all night and never advanced past first as Cook faced just one hitter over the minimum thanks to a pair of double plays.

"It's a step back today for me, offensively, and that's hard as hell to do the way we've been swinging the bats here at home," Wedge said. "I'm tired of watching. I'm patient and I believe nine times out of 10 you're rewarded for patience, but there also has to be a sense of urgency with every player in that room."

Wedge admitted there weren't a lot of options at this point. With Franklin Gutierrez going on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion and Michael Saunders sick with the flu, Seattle played with just two position players on the bench.

But this same group has been struggling all year at home, and the second-year manager said that just can't continue.

"We'll find it. It's my job to make sure we find it. That's why I'm here," he said. "I have no plans of failing here. We're going to figure this thing out. We're going to hit at home like we hit on the road. We're not there yet, not even close yet, but it will happen.

"Whether it's the same guys in the room or not, that's yet to be determined, that's up to them, but they're not getting it done now."

Boston's offense certainly solved Safeco Field in the second night of the four-game series. After going scoreless for the first 13 innings of their visit, including a 1-0 shutout on Thursday, the Sox erupted with three home runs off Noesi in the fifth inning and then coasted to the easy win.

The long ball hadn't been a problem for Noesi of late. He'd allowed just two in his last four starts and five total in six Safeco starts this season.

But the Red Sox pelted him for three solo shots in the fifth, with Will Middlebrooks and Cody Ross going back-to-back to start the inning and Daniel Nava adding a towering blast with two outs.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia then ripped a two-run shot in the sixth before Wedge called for help. Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez blanked the Sox over the final four frames, but Noesi is now 2-10 with a 5.69 ERA as he gave up seven hits and five runs in his five-plus innings.

"I was missing my pitches again, whether 0-2 or 1-1, just putting them in the middle," said Noesi.

The 25-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher in the Majors to double-digit defeats this season as he's now lost his last seven decisions over a 10-start span.

Boston had tested Noesi earlier, with Middlebrooks driving Casper Wells to the center-field wall in the second and David Ortiz pushing Chone Figgins to the fence in left with a long shot in the fourth. But once the Sox zeroed in on Noesi, the ball really started jumping out in the fifth inning.

The Mariners had no such luck against Cook, a 33-year-old who'd spent his previous 10 seasons with the Rockies. The veteran right-hander took advantage of the Mariners' eager young hitters to coast through the lineup with little resistance all night.

"He had his sinker going from the first pitch of the game and was throwing it at the heart of the plate and they were swinging at it and putting the ball in play and the defense was doing everything they needed behind him," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "It was a great performance. Just what the doctor ordered."

Ichiro Suzuki led off the fourth with a single, but he was erased on a double-play grounder by Wells. Dustin Ackley reached on a leadoff error in the sixth on shortstop Mike Aviles, but he never advanced beyond there. John Jaso led off the eighth with a single, but he was eliminated on a double-play grounder by Ackley.

"I was commanding the ball down in the zone and I knew they were trying to be aggressive," said Cook, "so I was just trying to make sure I was staying at the bottom of the zone."

The Mariners never adjusted, with no batter going more than six pitches in an at-bat.

"We're getting pretty sick and tired of complimenting the other side," said shortstop Brendan Ryan after his 0-for-3 night. "Good outing or not, it's just getting old. It's disappointing. You'd like for one good at-bat to lead into the next, not the other way around.

"The same outs keep being made, myself included. It's just bad at-bats. I don't want to take anything away from Cook or be disrespectful in any way, but there's got to be adjustments made and there weren't, and I think that's what you saw tonight."

Greg Johns is a reporter for 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.