PITTSBURGH – As a junior at Gonzaga University in 2013, Marco Gonzales went 7-3 with a 2.80 earned-run average on the mound and led the Zags at the plate with a .311 batting average, earning him the John Olerud Award as college baseball’s best two-way player.
Which is a long way of saying this: The dude can hit a little.
Gonzales pitched one of his best games of the season and had his first hit as a Mariner – a double off Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller – to carry the Mariners to a 6-0 victory to open their three-game series against the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The 27-year-old left-hander (16-11) won his 16th game of the season, quite a feat for a last-place Seattle team (63-88) that is 25 games under .500.
Gonzales’ 16 wins account for 25.4% of the Mariners’ victories – the highest percentage of any pitcher in the majors this season.
Gonzales’ final line Tuesday: seven innings, no runs, six hits, four strikeouts, no walks. He lowered his season ERA to 4.14.
It’s his first scoreless outing since April 25 against Texas, when he also threw seven shutout innings.
Gonzales’ 16 wins are the most by a Seattle pitcher since Felix Hernandez had 18 wins in 2015.
The Pirates’ Melky Cabrera and Jose Osuna opened the seventh inning with back-to-back singles off Gonzales. But Gonzales escaped when he got Elias Diaz looking at an inside fastball for strike three; a line out by Colin Moran; and a pop out by Erik Gonzalez.
That ended Gonzales’ night. As he walked off the field, he pumped his left hand into his glove five times and pointed to catcher Omar Narvaez.
Narvaez, Austin Nola and Shed Long homered for the Mariners.
Narvaez and Nola went back-to-back in the sixth off Pirates reliever Michael Feliz.
Long hit a long blast to right field that nearly left the park, ricocheting off the back railing.
Dee Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Narvaez for the Mariners’ first run, and Long singled off Keller in the fifth to drive in Gonzales in the fifth.
Seattle’s Kyle Lewis went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts.
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