Sloppy Mariners allow 8 unearned runs, lose to Texas 12-3
The Mariners fell 14 games under .500 and 10 games out of first place with a lackluster performance against the Texas Rangers.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Friday | @San Diego, 7:05 p.m., FSN | Vargas (4-2, 3.06) vs. Correia (5-4, 5.03)
Saturday | @San Diego, 5:35 p.m., FSN | Lee (4-2, 2.77) vs. LeBlanc (3-4, 3.21)
Sunday | @ San Diego, 1:05 p.m., FSN | Hernandez (3-5, 3.77) vs. Richard (4-3, 2.72)
Monday | @ St. Louis, 4:05 p.m., FSN | TBA vs. Wainwright (8-4, 2.30)
Tuesday | @ St. Louis, 5:15 p.m., FSN | Rowland-Smith (0-5, 6.63) vs. Hunter (1-0, 1.00)
For the record
vs. AL West: 7-21
vs. L.A.: 2-7
vs. Oakland: 3-6
vs. Texas: 2-8
vs. AL East: 6-8
vs. AL Cent: 9-6
vs. NL: 1-2
vs. LHP: 6-13
vs. RHP: 17-24
Extra inngs.: 1-6
ARLINGTON, Texas — Their most embarrassing performance of the season leaves the Mariners and legions of shellshocked fans wondering just how low this team can tumble.
Count their beleaguered manager, Don Wakamatsu, among those who could barely believe their eyes Thursday as a 12-3 loss to Texas unfolded. It wasn't so much that the team was walloped for a third night in a row, but more the way it collapsed to the tune of eight unearned runs after a series of defensive lapses.
There have been ample lapses in focus the past few nights, something Wakamatsu and his coaches have tried to address as the team was in the process of falling a season-worst 14 games under .500 and 10 games out of first place.
"We're addressing it daily," Wakamatsu said. "It's not something that we're proud of. We were embarrassed a lot. Especially this series with the way we played. These guys in there are just as embarrassed. They can play better baseball. They're accountable."
Seattle was outscored 24-5 in the final two games of the series and 31-6 in the three losses. In fact, they were outscored 33-6 after the third inning of the series opener, a game that starter Cliff Lee practically won by himself with a nine-inning effort.
Before that, they were routed in three straight at home by the Angels.
All this transpired amid speculation about whether Wakamatsu has full control over his clubhouse. That's always a tough thing to gauge; one of the ways it's done is to see how players respond to a manager with their efforts on a day-to-day basis.
There were baserunning blunders the previous two games, then fielding miscues throughout the finale, all issues that denote a certain lack of focus between the lines.
The Mariners got an alert fielding play by catcher Rob Johnson in the first inning when he scooped up an Ian Kinsler chopper and threw to second to begin a double play.
That nearly got starter Ryan Rowland-Smith out of a jam. But with two out and a runner on third, he gave up a run-scoring single to Vladimir Guerrero, then a 430-foot, two-run homer to right-center by Josh Hamilton that gave Texas a 3-0 lead.
Seattle got a pair back in the second, thanks largely to a two-base throwing error by center fielder Julio Borbon. But the Rangers scored four more runs in the bottom of the second to go up 7-2.
Three of the runs were unearned after an error by second baseman Chone Figgins on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder that deflected off his glove.
The Mariners got a run back in the fourth, but Texas put it away with five more runs in the sixth. All were unearned and came after shortstop Josh Wilson let a two-out grounder shoot under his glove with two men on.
"Those are two plays that need to be made and should be made," Wakamatsu said. "There are no excuses for them."
Rowland-Smith had come out of the game, replaced by Brandon League with Kinsler due up in that sixth inning. After a shaky start, in which most of his pitches were too high in the zone, Rowland-Smith seemed to settle down a bit and enjoyed one of his better stretches this season.
"The last couple of innings, I felt really good about it," he said. "The thing with me is, I'm not going to say I battled or gave it my best or whatever. I wasn't raised to be mediocre, so it's still tough to deal with no matter what happens."
But he did a better job of getting ahead of hitters and keeping the ball down after Texas took the big early lead. Trouble is, it was far too late to change the game's outcome.
The Rangers had their share of blooped hits fall in during the series. But they also hit their share of rockets and jumped on every Seattle mistake.
"It is what it is, we can always play better," Mariners shortstop Wilson said. "That's what we can control. I mean, balls falling in, making errors. A routine ground ball going under my glove. That's the stuff that's inexcusable, and we can play better."
Right he is on all counts.
This series, which dropped the Mariners to 7-21 against their own division, probably ended any realistic hope they had of making the playoffs. But they could still improve enough to avoid another of those 100-loss seasons their fans learned to hate only two short years ago.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
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