Saunders exits early, Mariners lose to Pirates 9-4
SEATTLE (AP) -- Joe Saunders will be glad to forget all about this game.
Starling Marte hit two of Pittsburgh's five home runs and Jeff Locke pitched seven sharp innings to lead the Pirates past Saunders and the Seattle Mariners 9-4 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Saunders threw 51 pitches and didn't make it out of the second. He gave up six runs and six hits in 1 2-3 innings, his shortest start since going 1 2-3 innings on Aug. 7, 2009, with the Angels against Texas.
"I felt OK in the bullpen, just one of the those things that I couldn't find it. Tried to find it, wasn't there," Saunders said. "I won't remember this one tomorrow."
Marte opened the game with a triple and hit solo shots in the second and eighth for the first multihomer game of his career.
Brandon Inge had a three-run shot in the second, his first home run since last August. Russell Martin and Gaby Sanchez also went deep for the Pirates in their first five-homer game since July 22, 2009, against Milwaukee.
It was the second time this season the Mariners have allowed five long balls. Houston connected five times on April 9.
"Bad start, bad start. All nine hitters, the ball was up in the zone and down the middle of the plate," Saunders said. "I could go on and on. Just a bad one."
Marte rattled his first-inning triple into the right-field corner and scored on Jordy Mercer's groundout.
That was as much damage as Saunders (5-8) allowed in his previous start Wednesday at the Los Angeles Angels, when he gave up his only run on a wild pitch in a complete-game, 1-0 loss.
Saunders couldn't complete two innings this time as the Pirates chased him with five runs in the second.
"It was just a bad night for him," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "They came in swinging the bats. He just made some mistakes and some of those don't come back."
Kyle Seager hit his 10th home run in the sixth for the Mariners. It was the sixth that Locke has allowed this season, first by a left-handed hitter.
Justin Smoak added a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off Bryan Morris.
Locke (7-1) limited Seattle to two runs and four hits, leaving him tied for second in the National League with a 2.06 ERA. He struck out four and walked two.
"He was commanding the inside part of the plate to righties and lefties," Mariners catcher Mike Zunino said. "He was able to pitch that inner third a lot and he did a great job of creating angles."
On the other side, Zunino said he and Saunders "just missed our spots a little bit. That was sort of the key to the night for everybody. Just sort of fell behind with everyone and we're missing spots trying to get back in the count."
Martin opened the second with his home run to center, his eighth. With one out, Tony Sanchez singled and Neil Walker walked. Inge, with two hits in his previous 32 at-bats, connected for a three-run shot to left on a 2-2 pitch for his first homer since Aug. 1 with Oakland against Tampa Bay.
One pitch later, Marte homered to right-center.
"We had some power jump out there tonight," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
After Andrew McCutchen's two-out double, Blake Beavan replaced Saunders, who is 10-3 in 17 starts at Safeco Field. His ERA at the park rose from 2.31 to 2.80.
"I think it was a lack of execution, and he'll be the first to tell you," Hurdle said. "We saw his 1-0 complete game. We've seen him effective many times. Making the pitch he needed to or wanted wasn't really there. It happens up here."
The Mariners scored a run in the second on Carlos Triunfel's two-out single to center. Seager opened the sixth with his home run to right on a 2-1 pitch from Locke.
Marte hit his eighth homer with two outs in the eighth on the first pitch from Carter Capps. Gaby Sanchez hit his seventh in the ninth off Capps.
"They always say that hitting is contagious. It's true, when one guys goes, another one goes," Inge said. "It's something we just rolled with."
NOTES: Before the game, the Mariners placed oft-injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring -- two days after he came off the 60-day DL for the same injury. "I'm disappointed, like we all are," Wedge said. "No one is more disappointed than he is. I'm sure the frustration is just off the charts for him." To fill the roster spot, Seattle recalled OF-2B Dustin Ackley from Triple-A Tacoma. ... Saunders' career low is two-thirds of an inning on Sept. 30, 2006, with the Angels against the A's. ... The Pirates are 8-0 immediately following an off day this season.
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