Mike Zunino got most of the game off Wednesday, which provided an opportunity to avoid yet another set of bruises.
The Seattle Mariners catcher was hit by a pitch for the 14th time this season in Tuesday’s victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. That leads the American League and drew him closer to Jose Guillen’s club-record of 19 set in 2007.
“You’ve got to lead in something, right?” Zunino chirped. “I must lead in the ones I can’t get out of the way of. That one (Tuesday) was coming right at me. I felt any way I moved on that one, I was going to get hit.”
Zunino was hit on the elbow in the sixth inning by Philadelphia starter A.J. Burnett.
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“What can you do about it?” Zunino asked. “Ugly-finder, I guess.”
Zunino got even his next at-bat when he grounded a two-run single through the left side with two outs in the eighth inning. That knocked Burnett out of the game.
It also provided the Mariners with some insurance runs in what turned into a 5-2 victory when the Phillies scored twice in the ninth inning.
Zunino entered Wednesday’s game as a pinch runner for Jesus Sucre in the eighth inning and remained in the game defensively in the bottom of the inning.
HUNCHES WELL PLAYED
As hunches go, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon had a pretty good day. (Not that it mattered, ultimately, in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park.)
McClendon opted to start Logan Morrison in right field in a shift from previous plans to rest Morrison, who had started the previous 17 games.
“He’s actually got pretty decent numbers against (Phillies lefty Cole Hamels),” McClendon said prior to the game. “Hopefully, it pays off. That’s the hunch of the day.”
Morrison responded by making a web-gem catch on a Hamels two-out liner in the second inning, which saved a run. Morrison also had a single and an RBI double in two at-bats against Hamels.
Another McClendon hunch: Endy Chavez was 1-for-27 against left-handers when inserted as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning against Phillies lefty Jake Diekman.
Chavez doubled to left.
The Mariners have permission from Major League Baseball to begin selling tickets for possible postseason games.
Season-ticket holders have priority for the initial sales and can purchase full or partial strips of tickets, depending on their plan.
Those who make a $500 deposit toward 2015 season tickets will also get priority. The deadline for doing so is Sept. 22.
The Mariners will announce plans for the sale of single-game postseason tickets at a later date.
FOLLOWING A LOSS
If one measure of a big-time starter is his ability to get his club turned in a positive direction, then consider:
Hisashi Iwakuma turned in eight scoreless innings Tuesday in a 5-2 victory over the Phillies after the Mariners lost the series opener. Iwakuma is now 6-3 in starts following a loss.
And that’s the poorest mark among the Mariners’ top three starters.
Felix Hernandez is 8-2 after a loss, and Chris Young is 6-2 after a loss. Hernandez will get another opportunity Friday in Boston.
The Mariners’ bullpen patched some recent leaks by working four scoreless innings after James Paxton departed. That halted a string of five straight games in which the relief corps surrendered at least one run.
The recent slide bumped the bullpen’s ERA from a record pace of 2.34 to 2.45. The American League record for a bullpen ERA over a complete season in the designated hitter era (post-1973) is 2.35 by the Oakland Athletics in 1990.
The bullpen previously had a 10-game run of allowing at least one run that spanned the eight-game losing streak in April, and a seven-game streak that included the first six games after the All-Star break.
Mariners pitchers, barring something unexpected, finished the season at 0-for-15 at the plate with six strikeouts, one walk and five sacrifice bunts. … Robinson Cano has scored 13 runs his past14 games. … The Mariners are 12-6 with Austin Jackson as their leadoff hitter. … Kyle Seager needs one homer to become the first Mariner to reach 20 in three consecutive seasons since Raul Ibañez from 2005-08. … Hisashi Iwakuma has 12 victories and 12 walks this season in 21 starts.
It was four years ago Thursday — Aug. 21, 2010 — that first baseman Casey Kotchman’s major-league record error-less streak came to an end at 274 games.
Kotchman committed an error in the eighth inning of 9-5 loss to the Yankees in New York when he failed to field a sharply hit ball by Curtis Granderson. It was Kotchman’s first error in 2,380 chances.
The Mariners have an open date Thursday before concluding their nine-game trip with three weekend games in Boston.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) will oppose Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly (0-1, 5.29) at 4:10 p.m. PDT Friday at Fenway Park.
Root Sports will televise the game.