M's slide grows to 1-13 after pitchers take another pounding
There were plenty of long faces, angry accusations and some self-loathing after the Mariners spiraled into the history books. But once again, the...
Seattle Times staff reporter
DETROIT — There were plenty of long faces, angry accusations and some self-loathing after the Mariners spiraled into the history books.
But once again, the players and coaches had few answers as to how they've become the first contending team in modern history to lose 13 of 14 games this late in a season. No team that was at least 20 games over .500 at the 126-game mark of a season, as the Mariners were at the onset of this stretch, has suffered this many losses in so short a span.
Their place in the record books was sealed with a 12-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers on a humid Saturday night in which just about everything that could go wrong did. The Mariners looked on solemnly as the umpire blew an early call at first base, Jose Guillen blew two fly balls that bounced off his glove and the Tigers' hitters blew Seattle pitching out of the ballpark.
"You can blame it on me," Guillen said. "I will take full responsibility for those two balls."
Guillen threw his glove of five years into the stands and didn't try to get it back. He was too upset to talk about the team's free fall in the playoff standings.
The Mariners are almost double-digits behind the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West and are five back of the New York Yankees in a wild-card race that sees them in danger of falling into fourth spot.
That the Mariners were only a game out in the division and leading New York by two in the wild-card standings only 15 days ago exemplifies just how devastating this stretch of losses has been.
Guillen's dropped ball in the first inning on a Magglio Ordonez sacrifice fly helped spark Detroit to a three-run outburst and a 3-1 lead. Guillen's drop of a hard liner by Sean Casey to lead off the sixth, resulting in a double, put Casey aboard for Brandon Inge's two-run homer off Jeff Weaver that put Detroit ahead to stay.
Ivan Rodriguez also went deep for Detroit, a solo home run in the eighth off Jorge Campillio. Adrian Beltre and Yuniesky Betancourt countered with game-tying solo shots in the third and fourth off Tigers lefty starter Nate Robertson.
As hard as the Mariners fought to stay in it, scoring in each of the first five innings for the first time since Sept. 6, 2001, it wasn't their night.
Ichiro was victimized for the third time in less than a week by a blown call as first-base umpire Brian Gorman wrongly ruled him out on a grounder leading off the game.
The normally impassive Ichiro complained about the call on the field. And after the game, Ichiro, the pressures of this long season perhaps getting to him, could barely contain his disgust.
"It's kind of to the point where I've given up about this topic," Ichiro said through interpreter Ken Barron. "I don't even have words to express my feelings any more at this point.
"At this point, you can almost laugh about it because it's so silly."
Ichiro then added: "I thought everybody here, at the major-league level, is professional. I thought that's the reason they are at the major-league level."
A reporter asked Ichiro whether he was specifically calling Gorman "unprofessional."
"Don't make me go into that much detail," he said.
The call on Ichiro loomed large later in the inning as a struggling Robertson walked three batters and saw third baseman Inge muff a Raul Ibanez grounder. But the Mariners scored only one run in the inning and never led again after the bottom of the frame.
Weaver became the latest Seattle starter to get hit early and often. Even after Beltre's blast to left field on an 0-2 pitch in the fourth inning tied the score, Weaver gave the run right back in the bottom of the inning.
After walking the leadoff batter, he gave up singles to Rodriguez and Timo Perez, the second one rocketing past the frustrated pitcher's outstretched glove and into center field for a go-ahead run.
"Our offense did an excellent job battling back each and every time they put up the runs," Weaver said. "I just couldn't stop them. They're as hot as it comes right now, and I'm just having a hard time getting out of situations."
Weaver was lifted after the Inge home run in the sixth. But reliever Sean Green yielded a one-out single to Placido Polanco, then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the runner to make it all the way to third.
Ordonez later belted a two-out double off the wall in right-center to cap the decisive rally.
"We're not getting any breaks," Mariners manager John McLaren said. "It's another tough game, and we've got to battle through it."
McLaren admired the way his hitters kept bouncing back early, erasing each new run the Tigers put up. That, he said, is the lone comfort he'll take out of this record loss.
"Let me tell you this," he said. "We're all frustrated. I said this before, but it's a complete gut-check time for everybody."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
Catcher Gregg Zaun retires after 16 seasons
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