Published January 13, 2015
Jesus Montero hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning and Felix Hernandez tossed eight stellar innings to help the Seattle Mariners down the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1, in the finale a two-game interleague set at PNC Park.
Montero launched a one-out homer off of Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett (3-3), accounting for one of just two hits allowed by the right-hander, to snap a 1-1 tie. Hernandez (5-2), meanwhile, won his fourth consecutive start after allowing one run on six hits and striking out five.
Michael Saunders walked three times and scored the other run for Seattle, which has won four of six overall.
"It was big for us," Hernandez said. "We're coming from where we lost in Toronto the last game there and the first game here. We just wanted to win this one so bad."
Starling Marte had two hits and scored Pittsburgh's only run on a first-inning single by Andrew McCutchen.
Burnett struck out nine batters and allowed two runs over seven innings, though he walked four and had two wild pitches for the Pirates, who have lost three of four.
With the score deadlocked at 1-1 through six innings and Burnett's only allowed hit coming off of Endy Chavez' infield single in the fifth, Montero changed the game with one swing.
He smacked his solo shot over the right-center wall on Burnett's 100th pitch of the game to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
"I was looking for a fastball and he left it in the middle," Montero said, "and I hit it good."
Tom Wilhelmsen cruised through the ninth to earn his ninth save of the season.
"He never hit that other gear with his velocity -- but the spin and sequences were there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Hernandez.
Burnett retired the first nine batters he faced before running into some trouble in the fourth by walking two batters and throwing both of his wild pitches.
Saunders drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on the first wild pitch of the inning. Jason Bay then walked, but Burnett struck out Kyle Seager and forced a groundout to get two quick outs. Saunders, though, scored from third on Burnett's second wild pitch of the frame to tie the game at 1-1.
The Pirates jumped on the board early in the first inning as Marte smacked a leadoff double down the left-field line. After Travis Snider struck out, McCutchen hit a single up the middle to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Hernandez has allowed two earned runs and struck out 28 over 30 innings in his last four starts ... Pittsburgh recalled pitcher Duke Welker from Triple A Indianapolis Wednesday and released pitcher Jonathan Sanchez ... Hernandez is 14-7 in 27 interleague starts over his career ... Burnett has not allowed more than three runs in any of his eight starts this season.