SAN DIEGO — Joel Peralta’s ongoing struggles finally proved too much for the Mariners, who designated him for assignment prior to Thursday’s series finale against the San Diego Padres.
The Mariners replaced Peralta in their bullpen by recalling right-hander Cody Martin from Triple-A Tacoma. Martin, 26, was in uniform — No. 57 — for the game at Petco Park.
"I got a phone call pretty late (Wednesday) night after the ballgame ended," Martin said. "They just told me to be ready to pitch `whenever.’ I’ve kind of been throwing out of the bullpen. So I’m ready for anything at any time."
Peralta, 40, registered 11 "holds" in his first 17 outings, but he gave up 10 runs and 16 hits over his last nine innings — which spiked his ERA from 2.51 to 5.40. He also gave up five homers in that span.
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"We rode him hard," manager Scott Servais said, "and, obviously, the results haven’t been there in the last month…Organizationally, we just felt it was time to make a change there."
Servais said breaking the news to Peralta made for a "rough" day.
"A first-time manager, you go into spring training," Servais said, "you’re trying to get the ball rolling on a number of different things, and Joel was at the forefront, one of the leaders and a big proponent of what I was trying to put into place."
Martin was 5-3 with a 5.87 ERA in 12 games at Tacoma. He opened the season by making seven starts before shifting to the bullpen. He had a 2.78 ERA in his last seven appearances.
"I don’t think the numbers tell the whole story," said Martin, who will replace Steve Johnson as the Mariners’ long reliever. "My first month was good to begin, tough in the middle and finished strong. And I had a good month of May.
"I’ve kind of figured some stuff out, figured out what I want to do on the mound, and it’s been going well."
Martin pitched one scoreless inning Thursday and got the victory when the Mariners erased a 10-run deficit in beating the Padres 16-13.
“I thought, maybe, if I can have a clean inning,” Martin said, “I can get the guys going. That’s what happened. Guys were just hot. That’s a pretty amazing way to do it.”
Martin was a seventh-round pick by Atlanta in 2011. He reached the majors last season and made 21 appearances for the Braves before a July 2 trade sent him to Oakland. He finished a combined 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in 25 games.
The Mariners acquired Martin from the Athletics in an Oct. 19, 2015 waiver claim.
PAXTON TO START AGAIN
Lefty James Paxton will get at least one more start as a replacement in the rotation for injured Felix Hernandez after a deeply disappointing effort in Wednesday’s 14-6 loss to the Padres.
But Servais, effectively, also put Paxton on notice.
"There comes a time when you have an opportunity to step up," Servais said. "You get a chance to make an impact on team. Sometimes, you have to put a little chip on your shoulder and say, `this is my time.’ This is James Paxton’s time."
Paxton gave up eight runs and 10 hits Wednesday in just 3 2/3 innings. Five runs were unearned because of his own throwing error in a six-run first inning after being staked to a three-run lead.
"I certainly hope the results are better," Servais said. "You have to have a secondary pitch that you can go to not just when you’re ahead in the count but anytime. That’s going to be the focus. That’s what needs to get better."
Paxton’s next projected start is Monday against Cleveland at Safeco Field.
"He doesn’t need to throw any harder," Servais said. "He throws hard enough. The ball was in the middle of the plate. It was up, and it was flat. When it’s flat, the hitter sees the whole ball.
"When you get a down angle, they tend to mis-hit it a little bit. He knows that."
The Mariners recalled Paxton from Tacoma after placing Hernandez on the disabled list Wednesday because of a strained right calf. Servias reported that Hernandez’s calf remains sore.
Even so, club officials are hopeful Hernandez will only miss two starts. He is eligible to return June 12 from the disabled list, which would position him to pitch against Texas in the final game of next week’s homestand.
The Mariners entered Thursday leading the majors with 78 homers. The New York Mets ranked second with 73. Tampa Bay was second among American League clubs with 72.
At this pace, the Mariners will finish with 243 homers, which would rank as the fourth-highest total in franchise history. The 1997 club hit 264, while the 1996 club hit 245 and the 1999 club hit 244.
Another point to note:
More than half of the Mariners’ homers — 40 of 78 — came with at least one runner on base. A year ago, the Mariners finished with 198 homers, which ranked fifth among the 30 clubs, but only 81 (40.9 percent) came with someone on base.
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The Mariners, through Wednesday, trailed only Boston in OPS+ at 116. The Red Sox led all 30 clubs with a 125 mark. Pittsburgh was third at 133.
OPS+ is on-base percentage and slugging percentage (OPS) adjusted to account for individual ballparks and then put on a percentage scale. An average score is 100.
Robinson Cano is making a living this season at ambushing pitchers; he has a .537 average (22-for-41) when swinging on the first pitch. His three-run homer in Wednesday’s loss came on a first pitch from Padres lefty Christian Friedrich.
Cano’s first-pitch swinging, prior to Thursday, produced five doubles, one triple and seven homers along with 19 RBIs. He leads the majors in homers, RBIs, hits and extra-base hits on 0-0 counts.
Double-A Jackson first baseman D.J. Peterson extended his hitting streak to 12 games Wednesday when he hit a homer in a rain-shortened 4-3 victory at Tennessee (Cubs).
Peterson, 24, is batting .340 (16-for-47) in his surge with four homers and eight RBIs. His overall average is up to .245, and he has six homers and 28 RBIs in 50 games.
The Mariners selected Peterson with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Peterson’s first pro season ended when he was hit in the eye by a pitch, but he recovered well in 2014 by batting .297 with 31 homers and 111 RBIs in 123 games at Hi-A High Desert and Jackson.
But Peterson slumped badly a year ago in dropping to .223 in 96 games, primarily at Jackson, with just seven homers and 44 RBIs.
It was 39 years ago Friday — June 3, 1977 — that the Mariners, in their inaugural season, prevented future Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, then with Cleveland, from setting a major-league record for consecutive hitless innings.
Ruppert Jones hit a two-out homer in the sixth inning that halted Eckersley’s streak at 22 1/3 innings — just shy of Cy Young’s record 23 innings.
Eckersley had actually tied the record by recording the first two outs, but he lost those outs in the streak computation when he failed to complete a hitless inning.
Jones’ homer was the Mariners’ only hit in a 7-1 loss to the Indians at the Kingdome.
Center fielder Leonys Martin said he’s feeling "much better" and is tentatively scheduled to test his strained left hamstring by running Friday in Texas…the forecast calls for an 80-percent chance of rain Friday at Texas…when James Paxton started Wednesday, the Mariners became the last American League club to use more sixth different starting pitcher…Wednesday’s loss to the Padres dropped the Mariners to 5-1 in interleague play with 14 games, including Thursday’s series finale, still remaining. Their next interleague games are June 24-26 against St. Louis and June 28-29 against Pittsburgh at Safeco Field. Their next interleague road games are July 26-27 at Pittsburgh and July 29-31 against the Cubs in Chicago.
The Mariners begin a run of six games in 10 days against the Rangers when they open a three-game weekend series at 5:05 p.m. Pacific time Friday in Arlington, Texas.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-5 with a 3.51 ERA) will look to break a five-game losing streak when he faces Texas right-hander Yu Darvish (1-0, 1.80). Darvish is making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners