Mariners drop Cardinals back to first-place tie

Cardinals, Pirates tied for NL Central lead
Mariners drop Cardinals back to first-place tie

Seattle rookie left-hander James Paxton tossed six shutout innings and Kendrys Morales homered to lift the Mariners to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.

Franklin Gutierrez added a two-run double for Seattle, which broke a five-game losing streak.

St. Louis has lost two of three and fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for first place in the NL Central.

Paxton, in only his second major league start, allowed two hits and struck out five. He retired the first eight batters and set the side down in order four times.

The Canadian-born Paxton (2-0) lowered his ERA to 0.75.

A former University of Kentucky standout, Paxton surrendered one run on four hits over six innings in his debut — a 6-2 win over Tampa Bay on Sept. 7.

Relievers Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush kept the Cardinals under wraps the rest of the way. Farquhar picked up his 14th save in 16 chances. The four pitchers held the Cardinals to just three hits.

Morales hit his 22nd round-tripper of the season off reliever Tyler Lyons in the eighth to push the lead to 3-0. He has four homers in his last eight games.

Gutierrez provided all the necessary support in the fifth off St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha. Dustin Ackley singled to start the rally. Paxton drew a walk on four pitches. Brad Miller moved the runners over with a perfect bunt to set up Gutierrez’s blow down the left-field line, which came on the first pitch.

The two-run outburst broke Wacha’s scoreless streak of 23 2/3 innings. Wacha (3-1) allowed two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out seven but walked a season-high four.

The Cardinals’ lone run came on the eighth on a wild pitch by Furbush. Matt Carpenter doubled and came in to score with two out.

Seattle pushed the lead to 4-1 on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Triunfel in the ninth. Triunfel replaced Miller at shortstop in the fifth. Miller was diagnosed with a mild left hamstring strain and is considered day-to-day.

The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the third. But Wacha fanned Gutierrez and Kyle Seager to end the threat. Mike Zunino and Ackley had drawn leadoff walks and Miller singled to right with one away.

Wacha got the first hit off Paxton with two out in the third on a grounder to the right of the mound that Paxton was not able to handle. Carpenter then drew a walk, but Paxton induced Shane Robinson to ground out to end the threat.

NOTES: Reliever Trevor Rosenthal was back at Busch Stadium Saturday after missing the last two games. His wife, Lindsey, delivered the couple’s first child, a girl named Chloe, on Friday. … Friday night’s walk-off win on a passed ball marked the first time the Cardinals had won a game in that manner since June 5, 1979. … The loss also was a franchise-record 13th defeat in extra innings for the Mariners this season and was their 12th walk-off loss. … The Cardinals’ Carpenter is one double away from becoming the first Cardinal to hit 50 or more doubles in a season since Albert Pujols hit 51 in 2004. … The Cardinals and Mariners will conclude the three-game series on Sunday afternoon as Shelby Miller (13-9, 3.05 ERA) will pitch for the Cardinals against the Mariners’ Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 4.57 ERA). … Seattle’s Miller has recorded 27 multi-hit games, third on the team. He did not make his season debut until June 28.