Eric Wedge calls for the Mariners to get tougher after 12th straight loss
Mariners manager has closed-door meeting with players after losing to Toronto, 7-5, on Thursday
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners @ Boston, 4:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
TORONTO — The clubhouse door was locked from the inside within moments of the Mariners' 12th consecutive loss becoming official.
Once inside, manager Eric Wedge told his players in a tone as forceful as he could muster that they had to get tougher. Wedge had sent a veteran-laden lineup out for a 7-5 loss to Toronto on Thursday, hoping they could do the little and big things right to snap what's become the second-longest losing streak in club history.
And when that didn't happen, Wedge felt comfortable enough to lock the door and remind those players of what it takes to survive in the major leagues.
"We've got to get tougher," Wedge said. "This game will eat you up if you don't get tougher. We fought back today, but we've got to do a better job from inning to inning. Each man has to come to the ballpark each and every day and figure out how to help us win a ballgame."
The Mariners did indeed come back in a game they were seemingly out of. They trailed 5-1 in the eighth inning before loading the bases with one out on two infield singles and a walk, forcing Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero out of the game.
Casey Janssen came on and two pitches later, Miguel Olivo stunned the Rogers Centre crowd of 23,146 by rocketing the first Seattle grand slam of the season over the center-field wall.
But victory was not to be.
The Mariners followed the slam with two more singles, but Franklin Gutierrez popped out and Chone Figgins took a called third strike. The Blue Jays then scored twice in the bottom of the inning on a Rajai Davis double off reliever David Pauley to complete a series sweep.
A half-inning later, Wedge ordered the doors to the clubhouse locked.
"Each man has to come out there and do everything that they need to do to help us win a ballgame," Wedge said. "The veterans need to be better, without a doubt. Performance-wise, leadership-wise. And the young kids. They're here to learn on the job and that's part of it. But we've got to get tougher, that's the bottom line."
Olivo agreed with the manager that his team has lacked toughness.
"We need to be more tough, like the way he said it," Olivo said. "We need to grow up. This is our business, this is our job. We need to step up a little more. Everything that he said was true."
Olivo said there was a visible lift in the dugout after his slam, but that it only made the ensuing defeat much tougher to take.
"It's tough for everybody," Olivo said. "We're a team and we want to win. We've just got to keep trying harder and harder every day."
Right-hander Doug Fister had battled to keep his team in a 2-1 game before things came undone in the seventh. After an infield single by Corey Patterson and a walk to J.P. Arencibia, Mike McCoy laid down a bunt that rolled in front of the mound.
Fister had a clear shot at lead runner Patterson, who was going to third, but looked up too quickly and bobbled the ball for an error that loaded the bases.
Yunel Escobar singled to put Toronto up 3-1, then Fister walked another run home before his day ended. Chris Ray allowed a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly before escaping further trouble with Seattle down 5-1.
Until Olivo's homer, the Mariners generated little offense. Brendan Ryan grounded into a double play in the first, then stranded four runners with inning-ending strikeouts in the third and fifth.
Ryan said the message from Wedge was blunt and impossible to miss.
"It's our own fault and he doesn't waste his words," Ryan said. "When he says something, he means it. There's something behind it, so I think we have to look at ourselves and what we can bring to the table, even if it's just attitude."
Wedge said he wants to see his players showing "some swagger" again and go into the series in Boston this weekend believing they can win.
"I want us to do a better job — like I've said all year — of finishing off innings, but also creating," Wedge said. "I feel like we did swing the bats a little bit better ... but we've got to throw complete innings together and take advantage of opportunities."
Wedge said it's the same story of needing to execute in the field, put up tougher at-bats and "making some adjustments and changes as you work through this.
"If you don't do it, this game is going to eat you up. A lot of these guys are getting eaten up by it. We can't give in to the fight. We can't be pouting about it. We damned sure can't quit.
" You've got to just keep going," Wedge added. "You've got to have a positive mindset. You've got to walk around with some charisma and some confidence and a little bit of swagger to you. These are the best of the best. You walk out there and you step on that field, you damn sure better feel like you're one of them."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com
|The Mariners' losing streak is tied for second worst in franchise history.|
|12||Sept. 11-22, 2008|
|12||Aug. 16-28, 1989|
|12||July 26-Aug. 6, 1980|
|14||Sept. 2-18, 1992|
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