SEATTLE -- Not all rookies get a reigning Cy Young Award winner to copy.
That's just what Seattle's Michael Pineda tried to do on Friday night.Pineda noticed a night earlier that Felix Hernandez had success against Oakland working both sides of the plate, so when Pineda took the mound the burly rookie tried to emulate what Hernandez did.He nearly matched the Mariners ace.Pineda dazzled again, throwing six shutout innings for his third straight victory, and Adam Kennedy's two-run single was enough offense in the Mariners' 4-0 win over the Athletics.On the way to setting a little franchise history, Pineda overcame a high pitch-count in the early innings and some adversity in the sixth to become the first pitcher in Seattle history to begin his career with four consecutive quality starts."For a young man, he has a strong focus out there," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He doesn't let things speed up on him and you have to keep pitching and I think that's the most important part of that."Pineda has gone at least six innings every time out, and gave up five hits, struck out five and walked two on Friday. He became the second rookie in club history to post three victories in April, joining Freddy Garcia, and has a chance to own the mark himself with one more scheduled start this time.Pineda's night was shortened only because of a rising pitch count. Most of those were racked up in the second inning where he threw 31 pitches and allowed consecutive walks to lead off before getting strikeouts of Mark Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff and a groundout by Cliff Pennington.The right-hander gave up just three hits in his first five innings and when Pineda (3-1) faced trouble in the sixth, he got Kurt Suzuki to line out to left field and a ground ball from Ellis to end the threat. Pineda felt his motion was too quick in the early innings and was opening his front shoulder too quickly. He made a change in the third and rolled until the sixth, helped along by a biting slider."My slider now, it's better," Pineda said. "In spring training, sometimes it was good, but now since I first started here my slider has been pretty good."Pineda also got great defense at times. Kouzmanoff led off the fifth with a single and stood at third with one out. Pineda came inside on Coco Crisp, forcing a grounder to first. Kennedy threw home to Miguel Olivo and got the tag on Kouzmanoff, who might have scored with a better slide.Wilson also started a key double play in the seventh with a sliding stop that was turned nicely by shortstop Brendan Ryan. Instead of using his backhand to start the double play, Wilson smothered the ball then shoveled to Ryan. It's another part of Wilson's transition to second base he's continuing to work on."It's definitely a back hand [play], but at this point, I did what I needed to do to get the job done," Wilson said.David Pauley and Aaron Laffey worked two innings of relief. Jamey Wright entered in the ninth and loaded the bases with one out before Brandon League got Conor Jackson to ground into a game-ending double play for his fifth save in five chances.Oakland has now gone 18 innings since last scoring and was shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2008.Seattle got just seven hits themselves, but took advantage of seven walks allowed by the A's. Kennedy scored on Wilson's two-out single in the second off Oakland starter Tyson Ross (1-2), then drove home a pair in the fifth, lining Jerry Blevins' breaking ball back up the middle to score Chone Figgins and Michael Saunders.Ross lasted just 4 1/3 innings and threw just 31 of his 76 pitches for strikes."His fastball command wasn't as close to where it was this spring or remotely close to where it needs to be," Oakland manager Bob Geren said.
Seattle 1B Justin Smoak, on the bereavement list following the death of his father, is expected to rejoin the Mariners in Detroit on Tuesday. ... Friday was the birthday of Ross (24) and Oakland reliever David Purcey (29). Purcey threw 1 1/3 innings of relief and didn't allow a hit. ... Seattle LF Milton Bradley left in the third inning with lower back spasms. ... Seattle has pushed LHP Erik Bedard back and will have RHP Felix Hernandez start on normal rest Tuesday at Detroit. Bedard will now go on Wednesday.