Seattle starter Felix Hernandez lived up to his dominant billing as the Mariners beat the Pirates, 2-1, this afternoon at PNC Park.
Former Cy Young winner Hernandez allowed one run on six hits in eight innings, striking out five batters to earn his fifth win of the season.
The Pirates (18-15) got their own strong start from A.J. Burnett, who allowed two earned runs on two hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked four but took home his third loss of the season.
Burnett's worst pitch of the day came on his 100th, when he elevated a first-pitch fastball to Jesus Montero and then watched it sail into the seats beyond the center field wall.
Montero's third home run of the season gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead, giving Seattle some separation in a pitcher's duel.
The Pirates wasted an opportunity to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning.
Jordy Mercer led off the inning with a double down the right field line. He advanced to third when Clint Barmes lined out to right field -- after Barmes attempted to bunt him over.
But he was stranded when the next two batters struck out, including Burnett while trying to bunt.
The Mariners (16-19) weren't much more successful with a similar opportunity in the following half-inning.
With Michael Saunders on third base with one out, Burnett got Kyle Seager to ground out sharply to second base and struck out Montero to end the threat.