OAKLAND – Michael Pineda was as surprised as anyone when Cliff Pennington swung at a 3-0 pitch in the fourth inning.
The rookie right-hander was even more stunned at the result – a two-run double that was a key play in the Seattle Mariners’ 3-0 loss against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
“It’s 3-0, so I tried to throw a fastball in the middle for a strike,” Pineda said. “A double. I said, ‘Wow.’ ”
That was more than enough to send Seattle to its seventh loss in nine games. The Mariners never figured out Brandon McCarthy, who pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout in more than two years.
Pineda (9-9) didn’t pitch poorly, allowing only five hits and striking out seven. But the All-Star didn’t receive any run support and remained winless in his last five starts.
“I’m feeling good,” said Pineda, whose last win came on July 30 against Tampa Bay. “This is (my) first time pitching in September … and my arm is very strong now.”
McCarthy (8-7) matched his career high of 10 strikeouts and faced only four over the minimum while beating Seattle for the first time in three starts this season. The right-hander allowed three singles and finished the gem in style, slipping a called third strike past Mike Carp on his 114th pitch.
The Mariners didn’t have more than one baserunner in any inning and got only two as far as second base.
Dustin Ackley, Ichiro Suzuki and Josh Bard had hits for the Mariners. Seattle also had a runner reach on an error but couldn’t sustain much of anything against McCarthy.
“The story for me was our offense, or lack of,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “A ton of swing-and-misses today. Their guy did a nice job, but I felt like we should have done a better job. We had some pitches to hit today, but we just look a little bit long up there with our swings today.”
Suzuki finished 1-for-4 and needs 42 hits in the final 24 games to reach 200 for the 11th consecutive season.
Scott Sizemore homered to help the A’s win their third straight after dropping five in a row.
Oakland’s second straight win at home came after a 4-6 trip that included long rain delays, a doubleheader in Boston and a 16-inning loss to Cleveland.
Guillermo Moscoso got the Athletics rolling with a solid start in the series opener against Seattle, then McCarthy followed it up with his masterpiece.
McCarthy’s fourth complete game of the season was his first shutout since blanking Houston on May 24, 2009, when he was still with Texas.
Seattle was shut out for the 13th time this season. The Mariners were held to three hits or fewer for the ninth time this year.
The A’s didn’t get their first runner until Kurt Suzuki’s one-out walk in the third. Jemille Weeks followed with an infield single on a ball that glanced off the glove of diving second baseman Ackley.
Oakland got another infield hit almost the same way off Pineda in the fourth when first baseman Justin Smoak knocked down Hideki Matsui’s leadoff grounder but was unable to make a play.
The A’s made the most of that one.
Matsui went to second on David DeJesus’ one-out single, and both runners scored when Pennington doubled down the left-field line with two out.
The Mariners and A’s continue their series with a 1:05 p.m. (PDT) game in Oakland. Probable starting pitchers: Blake Beavan (3-4, 4.11 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill (9-13, 4.26).