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Mariners turn two on Hundley's ground ball

SEATTLE -- Hector Noesi bounced back from a rough stretch with a strong start on Wednesday, but the Mariners right-hander came up on the short end of a 1-0 pitchers' duel with the Padres at Safeco Field.

Two of the lower-scoring teams in the Majors hooked up in a 0-0 struggle for six innings until San Diego's Yonder Alonso's leadoff home run in the seventh off Noesi.

The loss was the fourth straight for Seattle and second in a row to the Padres, a team they went 5-1 against in 2011. It was the second time the Mariners lost a 1-0 decision this season and just the 18th time in franchise history they've fallen by that score at home, with eight of those at Safeco Field.

Seattle's offensive woes continued at their home turf. While the Mariners managed eight hits, their Safeco batting average sits at .199 and they're averaging 3.07 runs per game at home. On the road, those numbers are .257 and 4.81.

"Offensively, we just got to figure this out at home," said manager Eric Wedge. "It's no secret. We show what we're capable of doing on the road, we've just got to work to help these guys get over the hump here at home. We'll get it. They're good hitters. I think they're trying to do a little too much here at home."

The flip side, of course, is that Mariners pitchers thrive in Safeco's spacious environment. Noesi went seven strong innings, allowing five hits and three walks, while recording five strikeouts and lowering his ERA to 5.54. He's now 2-7 in his first year with the Mariners, having gone 0-4 with three no-decisions in his past seven starts.

But at home, Noesi has posted a 3.20 ERA in six starts compared to 8.15 in seven road outings. After lasting just 4 and 4 1/3 innings in his last two starts -- both on the road -- he looked like a different pitcher against the Padres.

"Noesi pitched really good tonight," said rookie catcher Jesus Montero. "I think we did a nice job together. Their guy was good. We tried to hit the ball, but we didn't find the spots. But Noesi was throwing the ball nice. Just one pitch, unbelievable. But that happens."

San Diego's Jason Marquis -- making his second start for the Padres after being released by the Twins -- was just a little better as he threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing six hits.

The Mariners nearly got to Marquis in the seventh, with some help from the Padres' defense. After a one-out walk to John Jaso and single by Casper Wells, Munenori Kawasaki hit a routine grounder to second. But Alonso dropped the throw to first to load the bases and send Marquis to the showers.

That golden opportunity slipped away, however, as Ichiro Suzuki hit a chopper to third base that resulted in a force at home and Dustin Ackley took a called third strike from reliever Joe Thatcher.

"I got ahead of him and that 2-2 pitch was one the best that I've thrown," Thatcher said of the Ackley at-bat.

Seattle also had runners on first and third with two out in the eighth against Luke Gregerson, but Jaso struck out to end that threat.

"We had opportunities to do something tonight," said Wedge. "We didn't really take advantage of any of them."

Just before Alonso went deep in the seventh, first baseman Justin Smoak saw a deep drive to right-center get hauled in at the wall by Cameron Maybin. It was the third time in two games that Smoak came up just short at Safeco, where he's hit three of his 10 home runs this season.

Montero helped Marquis out by getting caught too far off second base on a fly ball to left by Michael Saunders with two on and no out in the third. Left fielder Mark Kotsay easily doubled Montero up on the play, nullifying that early threat.

Montero did go 3-for-4 on the night, lifting his average to .266, and he threw out two runners trying to steal. Wells, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day, went 2-for-4 and made a nice running catch down the left-field line in the third inning.

Rookie Lucas Luetge threw a perfect eighth, extending his streak of appearances without an earned run to a club-record 24 to start the season.

Brandon League then escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the ninth with a strikeout and 5-2-3 double play.

But Seattle went down in order in the ninth, suffering their seventh shutout of the season and fourth in 27 home games.

"It's hard," Montero said. "Maybe the pitchers come here ready or something. I know we're a lot better hitting on the road, but I don't know why. We fight, but it doesn't happen every time because it's baseball. But we're trying hard."

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