© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
07/09/08 1:48 AM ET
Silva goes distance but loses to A's
Right-hander allows two runs on seven hits in eight innings
By Jim Street / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- A little mechanical adjustment that right-hander Carlos Silva put to the test on Tuesday night had him pitching like an All-Star. It went so well it took an All-Star to beat him. On a night Silva retired 20 of the last 23 batters he faced and pitched his first complete game of the season, the Mariners' hit-and-miss offense repeatedly misfired against Athletics right-hander Justin Duchscherer, resulting in a 2-0 Seattle loss in front of 12,543 at McAfee Colisuem. The Mariners were held to two hits in losing their third straight. "It's a shame that Carlos throws a game like that and gets the loss," shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. "We just didn't generate any runs to help him out. He battled and pitched a great game, but their guy was tough tonight and we couldn't get any runs. We hit some balls hard, but right at people." The Athletics scored single runs in the first and second innings off Silva and Duchscherer took it from there. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, losing the no-no bid when Richie Sexson lined a two-out double into right-center. Seattle's only other hit was a leadoff single by Miguel Cairo in the sixth. He was the last Mariners player to reach base in a game that consumed just 1 hour, 49 minutes on an unusually warm night on the East Bay. "Both [pitchers] were equally outstanding," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "The first couple of innings, Carlos wasn't as sharp as he became later on in the game, but their guy displayed why he's an All-Star." Duchscherer entered the second game of the four-game series with a 1.98 ERA, and it went down with each passing inning. Sexson was the only Mariners player to get into scoring position all night. But the Athletics right-hander had to be at the top of his game because Silva eventually found his "A" game. "I was trying something different, which we had worked on during my [most recent] bullpen," Silva said. "I tried it in the beginning, and felt a little uncomfortable for the first two or three innings. It felt a little weird. "But then, I got into a good rhythm." And he stayed there. The adjustment pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre suggested was to have Silva lower his hands and arms as he prepared to throw a pitch, which enabled him to relax and have a softer grip on the baseball. "For me, a sinkerball pitcher, I have to have relaxed fingers," he explained. "Before, I was squeezing the ball too hard. Like Mel said, 'Let it sink; don't make it sink.'" Silva kept the ball down for the most part and pounded the strike zone. "That is more me right there," he said. "I am not a five-inning, 100-pitch pitcher like my some of my starts. I attack the hitters and throw the sinker." Silva went to bat for Stottlemyre. "We have tried so many things and have been working so hard," he said. "I don't only feel badly for me, but I feel bad for Mel, too. He has been trying so hard and I told him in one of my bullpen sessions, 'Thank you for not giving up on me.'" The 4-11 record he has with one start remaining before the All-Star break is not what Silva or the Mariners expected when he signed a four-year, $48 million contract during the offseason. Tuesday night's strong performance could be a sign of better things to come. Silva's solid start came on the heels of a complete game tossed by left-hander Jarrod Washburn in Monday night's series opener, a 4-3 Seattle setback. "I don't know that I have been in a situation when the starters have thrown two complete games in a row and lost both of them," Riggleman said. Coming into the series, the Mariners had one complete game the entire season -- Felix Hernandez's 4-2 victory over the Athletics on April 16 in Oakland. Despite the three straight losses, by scores of 2-1 (15 innings), 4-3 and 2-0, Riggleman sees overall progress being made. "Hitting comes and goes," he said. "You are at the mercy of the pitcher and how they are throwing dictates how you are hitting. We're playing good defense and pitching well. We've lost three in a row, but we played good in all three games. We just didn't hit in those games. "But I can live with that. As long as we take care of the little things, play good defense, play aggressively and get after it, we'll win some games." Not a day too soon. Silva, attempting to win his fifth game of the season, and second against the Athletics, fell behind 1-0 in the first inning when Emil Brown lined a two-out single to center field, scoring Ryan Sweeney from third. Sweeney led off with a single to right-center, advanced to second on an infield out and to third on a line-drive out to Ichiro Suzuki in right field. Oakland added another run in the second inning, when back-to-back singles by Kurt Suzuki and Jack Hannahan put runners on first and third. Suzuki scored on Donnie Murphy's sacrifice fly. The Mariners, meanwhile, tried to get something going on offense, but Duchscherer would not allow it. He fed Seattle a steady diet of quality strikes and needed just 33 pitches through the first four innings. The only baserunner he allowed in that span was Sexson in the third inning. Sexson hit a slow roller down the third-base line and Athletics catcher Suzuki picked the ball up just before it went foul, wheeled and made a wild throw to first base for an error. Sexson went to second on the throw, but stayed there as Clement, Miguel Cairo and Ichiro all made outs.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.