SEATTLE -- His home, currently on the market, seemed too tidy, too perfect-looking for Joel Piñeiro to stay in it. So he stayed with his Red Sox teammates at the team's hotel, trying to transform Seattle from his home of six years into just another road city.
Whatever he considered it, it greeted him rudely on his first return trip. He sustained a twisted ankle Monday and sustained the loss yesterday, giving up an 11th-inning double to Jose Lopez that banged off the wall just out of Manny Ramírez's reach and scored Ichiro Suzuki for the deciding run in the Mariners' 2-1 triumph.
"In my heart, I felt great," Piñeiro said. "I wanted to go out there, I wanted to get the ball. I wanted to get a chance to pitch. These guys, the bullpen, pitched a lot the last couple days. I got a walk and I hung a pitch. When you make a mistake, that's what happens. I'm not a guy to find excuses about my ankle or this and that. I just left the pitch up."
Piñeiro had stepped on Eric Hinske's heel Monday night during pregame stretching, rendering him unavailable Tuesday and questionable yesterday. But despite the pain he said he still felt, he taped the ankle and was ready to go.
Piñeiro knows Suzuki and Lopez. He was a teammate of Suzuki's for six years, Lopez's for three, before he went cross-country last offseason for a chance to close with the Red Sox that never materialized.
Piñeiro had retired each of the two when he faced them earlier in the season. But this time he walked Suzuki on a questionable check-swing call with the count 3 and 2, then left a fastball up to Lopez.
"Once you're out there, you're not even thinking about who you're facing," Piñeiro said. "Obviously, you know what it is, but you're not thinking about that stuff. It was a little more weird the first day I got here. Took that route for six years."
But his home here now is in the visitors' clubhouse, in the visitors' bullpen. And when he was summoned, he just wanted to get through unscathed. He didn't.
After a ground out by Jamie Burke, Piñeiro missed on the full count to Suzuki, a pitch that might have saved him.
"I thought it was very close," Piñeiro said. "I thought it was a close checked swing. It's frustrating any time you give up a walk. If I make a better pitch at that time, it turns that situation around. There's two outs, then you're pitching Lopez in another way."
Without Suzuki, and Suzuki's speed, on the base paths. Without that distraction.
With it, Piñeiro sent a pitch to Lopez that Lopez sent to the wall in left field. Though Ramírez leaped for the ball, he couldn't reach it, and it rolled toward center as Suzuki bolted home.
"That's tough," Sox manager Terry Francona said of the play. "We're in no-doubles [defense] already, back pretty far anyway. He gave it his best shot. We were back because we want two hits to try to score Ichiro and that ball ends up hitting way up. That's a tough play. He gave it his best."
It wasn't enough.
"It was 50-50, because the ball stood up in the air a long time," Piñeiro said. "I thought maybe it has a chance to come down and it just came down right on the wall."
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.