At 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds, perhaps it's only right to expect big things of Michael Pineda. And he keeps delivering them.
Following up a Felix Hernandez 1-0 shutout, Pineda and the Mariners bullpen shut out t he Oakland Athletics again tonight for a 4-0 victory.
The Mariners have eight wins in 2011. Rookie Pineda has three of them - along with a 1.78 earned run average and a .202 opponent batting average. The big right-hander has been dominant, and he's still learning the league, its umpires and hitters.
“Michael has such a strong focus. He doesn’t let things beat up on him,” manager Eric Wedge said. “You have to keep pitching, and that’s the most important thing. He has a great arm and he’s aggressive with his secondary stuff.”
Pineda went six innings and was helped offensively by Adam Kennedy's two-run single and the fourth - fourth! - bases loaded walk of the season to Jack Cust. Cust has seven RBI, and four of them have come when he didn't make contact.
Kennedy? The 'reserve' infielder is the Mariners only .300 hitters, batting .333 with two home runs and five RBI. If there were a team award for April MVP, he'd win it.
The Mariners lost Milton Bradley to back spasms after the first inning, got a marvelously athletic double play turned in by second baseman Jack Wilson and shortstop Brendan Ryan and solid work from relievers David Pauley, Aaron Laffey, Jamey Wright and Brandon League.
League picked up his fifth save.