Mariners bats silent at Safeco again in 8-2 loss to Dodgers
Chad Billingsley pitched seven dominating innings and Andre Ethier's grand slam capped a six-run second that powered Los Angeles past the Mariners.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Padres @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
It might have gotten camouflaged in the excitement over the six-man no-hitter on Friday, overshadowed by Clayton Kershaw's brilliance on Saturday and lost in the focus on Blake Beavan's struggles on Sunday.
But the Mariners' struggles to hit at Safeco Field have continued unabated, the latest sobering example coming in their 8-2 loss to the Dodgers in the series finale. This time, it was Chad Billingsley who dominated. He gave up a solo homer to Kyle Seager in the first inning, but just one more hit until he left after seven.
The Mariners had only five hits, three in the final two innings after the outcome had long since been decided. In fact, all suspense pretty much ended in the second, when Beavan was blasted for six runs, four on Andre Ethier's two-out, full-count grand slam.
Manager Eric Wedge talked after the game about how the Mariners need to "get over the hump at home, and get back to swinging the bats like we're capable of."
It didn't happen, however, against a Dodgers staff with the second-lowest earned-run average in the majors. The Mariners scored just six runs in the series and hit a combined .181 (17 for 94).
In 24 games at Safeco this season, the Mariners are hitting .194 while averaging 3.17 runs. In 37 games on the road, they are hitting .257 while averaging 4.81 runs.
"We really don't separate the two," Seager said. "It's all baseball for us. It's all games. We don't look at it like, we're playing well on the road, we're struggling at home. We looked at it like we were coming into the series playing pretty good baseball. We got the big win in the first game, then obviously they came back and won the next two."
The Mariners were coming off a trip in which they scored 66 runs in nine games. But Billingsley, mixing pitches beautifully, never allowed the Mariners bats to get untracked.
"He did a good job against us, but I didn't feel we did a very good job," Wedge said. "Obviously, we've proven we're a lot better than that."
Asked what it would take to get over the hump at home, Wedge said, "I think games. Being home more, like we're going to be, will help. If you can hit, you can hit. I think with what we did on this last road trip, and the confidence these guys gained, some of the things they did against very good teams and some very good pitchers, it's going to carry over to us at home as well."
The Mariners have another issue of concern in Beavan, who lasted just two innings, giving up those six runs in the second, all with two outs. In his last three starts, Beavan has given up 17 earned runs on 23 hits over 13 innings (an 11.77 ERA) to raise his overall ERA from 4.38 to 5.92.
"I have to keep grinding it out," Beavan said. "There's a reason why there's 32 starts as a starter (over a season). Half the season doesn't mean it's over. I'll try to keep battling through and make the adjustments on the fly."
Wedge, however, was noncommital when asked if Beavan would remain in the rotation. Pitching coach Carl Willis said they had been working in bullpen sessions this past week on Beavan's changeup as a counterpoint to his fastball.
"I think the challenge is to trust it," Willis said. "When he came to the big leagues and through his minor-league career, his changeup was his second-best pitch. It's a matter of having confidence in that pitch to throw it when he needs to throw it."
After Seager hit his eighth homer of the season off Billingsley in the first — Seager's 24th two-out RBI, tops in the American League — the Seattle offense went silent. Justin Smoak singled to lead off the second, and the Mariners didn't have another hit until Dustin Ackley's single in the eighth.
Michael Saunders' RBI double in the ninth provided the Mariners' only other run, but by that time the game had long been decided as the Dodgers tacked on two in the eighth off Brandon League.
After striking out 14 times on Saturday, the Mariners added 10 more whiffs Sunday.
"Their pitchers have good stuff," Seager said. "Any time you're facing pitchers like that, if they're making pitches, it's going to be a tough at-bat. It's not necessarily us being overeager. We had the same approach on the road trip, and the whole time. We just ran into some good arms."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry.