Mariners lose eighth straight, 5-1 to Texas
Mariners set franchise mark for consecutive scoreless innings at 30.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Texas @ Mariners, 1:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
On a night they celebrated the success of the 2001 team's 116-win season, the Mariners made history Saturday night. Only this time, there will be no celebration 10 years later.
The Mariners set a franchise record for offensive futility with a streak of scoreless innings that hit 30 — the previous record was 29 — and dropped their eighth straight game, 5-1 to AL West-leading Texas in front of 30,896 at Safeco Field.
"There's a lot to be said for what's not happening," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We're fighting behind the scenes to try to get these guys heading in the right direction. I've got some strong thoughts in regards to what I think is going on here and we're going to keep working hard to get it across to them. You never give in to the fight."
Felix Hernandez was pitching. The King's Court was out in force. But the offense remained nonexistent. Even Sounders FC, playing an afternoon game against the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field, produced more scoring (four goals) than the Mariners.
"We're going to come out of this," Wedge said. "We're going through a tough stretch right now, but we're going to get to the point where we can count on our guys offensively to do their part. It sure as hell doesn't look like it right now, but we're going to get there."
When Hernandez took the mound, the triangular section of fans in yellow T-shirts down the left-field line tried to rival the pregame ovation during the celebration honoring the 2001 Mariners.
"Let's go Felix!" they chanted, singing like a soccer crowd.
Then Ian Kinsler hit his fifth leadoff home run of the season to left field — he added a second homer to the same side of the park in the eighth — and all of a sudden, the crowd was quiet. It was the first leadoff home run Hernandez has surrendered in 193 career starts. He recovered, but the offense never got going.
Hernandez (8-8) allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out six in 7-2/3 innings. With the exception of the Mariners' one run and Dustin Ackley's aggressive sixth-inning double, there was little energy generated around the ballpark, despite the best efforts of the King's Court.
Images of the 2001 season appeared on the big screen in center field throughout the game. For those in attendance it was a painful reminder. Each memory was followed with another scoreless inning by the Mariners.
"We've got to be tougher," Wedge said. "Position players need to be tougher. You've got to be tough to have conviction with your ABs, to be up there prepared to turn around on a fastball, to not be in between and to take full accountability for it. It's nobody else's fault. Each hitter, to a man, has to take full responsibility for what they're doing or what they're not doing."
Through four innings, the Mariners' only hit was Adam Kennedy's bouncer off Texas left-hander C.J. Wilson's glove with one out in the second inning.
The scoreless-innings streak ended in the fifth when Ichiro drove in Franklin Gutierrez with a single to tie the score. The run snapped a streak of 33 shutout innings by Texas pitchers.
Any momentum was short-lived as the Rangers regained the lead in the sixth on Elvis Andrus' RBI single.
It looked like the Mariners had something going in their half of the sixth after Ackley's leadoff double. Justin Smoak walked with one out, but Kennedy grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the inning. Wilson (10-3) scattered five hits and struck out seven while pitching the Rangers to their 10th win in a row.
"We've just got to keep trying," Hernandez said. "We've got to figure out a way to win games."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com
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