Padres' Bethancourt plays 4 positions, hits 96 mph on mound
SEATTLE (AP) Christian Bethancourt was filled with nerves as he warmed up, partly because he had no idea what to expect.
Bethancourt figures the last time he pitched to live hitters, he was 13 or 14 years old. Now, the catcher-turned-outfielder was standing on the mound in Seattle, tasked with saving some bullpen arms while the San Diego Padres slogged through a 16-4 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday.
So when Bethancourt's first pitch flashed 92 mph on the stadium radar gun, he took a long look. And what followed for five batters gave San Diego something to chuckle about on an otherwise forgettable day.
''It was fun for us to watch him pitch. We definitely don't want to be in that situation, but I think he brought some fire to the game,'' Padres manager Andy Green said.
Bethancourt became the fifth player in baseball history to play catcher, left field, second base and pitch in the same game. In the four prior instances, the player involved played every position during the game.
But what will be remembered were Bethancourt's 26 pitches in the eighth inning, when he touched 96 mph with no real pitching mechanics and tossed in everything from a 53 mph changeup, a knuckleball and a slider that plunked Seth Smith.
Bethancourt got two outs before being replaced by shortstop Alexi Amarista, who needed just one pitch to get Shawn O'Malley to ground out for the final out of the inning.
''It was definitely fun. It was something a lot of position players want to do at some point just to get out there and see how it feels and experience it,'' Bethancourt said. ''I know it's not easy to throw strikes now, but it was definitely fun.''
Bethancourt's stint on the mound covered only briefly for an otherwise miserable day for the Padres. Seattle hit five home runs and scored 13 of its 16 runs after there were two outs in the inning. The Mariners led 16-0 after five inning when Adam Lind capped the scoring by hitting Seattle's third three-run homer.
Smith homered twice, Kyle Seager hit a three-run shot and Franklin Gutierrez added a two-run homer as Seattle scored its most runs since posting 21 against Texas in 2012.
''Our guys are just having a good at-bat,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ''You're not always going to get hits. It's not always going to work out that way but today a number of times it certainly did.''
James Shields absorbed most of the damage, matching his career high with 10 runs allowed. Shields (2-7) has been the subject of trade rumors, but Tuesday's performance won't impress potential suitors. Shields was unable to close out innings as Seattle scored all its runs off the right-hander with two outs.
The most damaging was the second inning, when Luis Sardinas' single with two outs began a six-run inning. Robinson Cano walked with the bases loaded to force in one run and Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run single that included a lengthy review about whether Smith was out at home plate.
Smith was called safe, and while it appeared he did not touch the plate with his hand, it didn't appear Bethancourt tagged Smith with the ball. After nearly 3 minutes, Smith was ruled safe and Seager followed with his three-run homer.
Bethancourt and Shields both disagreed with the call.
''You can say that did change the game,'' Bethancourt said.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (4-4) didn't allow a baserunner until Yangervis Solarte led off the fifth with a single. Iwakuma completed seven innings, but gave up homers to Travis Jankowski, Matt Kemp and Hector Sanchez in his final two innings.
In his past two starts, the Mariners have scored 28 runs while Iwakuma was in the game.
Padres: RHP Tyson Ross is hoping to start throwing within the next week. Ross made one start before landing on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte (thumb) will be eased into his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. Marte was scheduled to be the DH on Tuesday night and will transition to playing in the field in a couple of days.
Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (1-1) will make his fourth start since being called up from Triple-A El Paso. He earned his first win in his last start against Arizona.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (4-4) tries to bounce back from a poor outing where he gave up six runs in a loss to Minnesota.