M's bats again silent in fifth straight loss
San Diego earns its first sweep of the season as Padres bunch six runs in fifth and sixth innings.
Seattle Times staff reporter
San Francisco @ M's, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
No matter how bad things get from here, the Mariners seem determined to stick to a new party line: It's not Safeco Field, and they will figure out how to score again soon.
Kyle Seager was preaching it after a 6-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday night that gave the visitors their first sweep this season.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was saying it, too, both before and after his team's fifth loss in a row, to media members and players.
Now, all the Mariners have to do is show they can put up runs in their home park. They needed until the seventh inning to snap a scoreless stretch of 15 frames since the series opener and have scored just 12 runs in six games on the homestand.
"It really is just like any other game," Seager said of home contests. "We don't really change our approach because we're at home or on the road or anything. It's the same approach. We're all taking the same aggressiveness toward pitchers, watching the same videos and trying to figure things out. But we're not doing anything differently whether we're at home or on the road."
Still, the Mariners managed just two hits off Padres starter Edinson Volquez — the guy once traded by Texas to land Josh Hamilton — before the seventh inning. Dustin Ackley finally singled to snap the scoreless innings drought with two out in the seventh, then Franklin Gutierrez did the same in the eighth to cut into a 6-1 deficit.
Still, the Seager line that the ballpark doesn't matter is likely to be repeated often in coming days no matter what happens on the scoreboard.
That the Mariners would be a bit hesitant to discuss Safeco Field, which drew 17,306 to see this latest defeat, is understandable. The players have been bombarded by questions about their home struggles since the last trip and most have done a good job of giving straightforward, honest answers.
Some of those answers may have irked management with their honesty, given the negative publicity about the ballpark and concerns that players might be preoccupied with it.
Erasmo Ramirez looked decent until the middle innings of his first major-league start. Called up from Class AAA by the Mariners this week, Ramirez issued a 13-pitch walk to the second batter he faced — Nicaraguan countryman Everth Cabrera — but managed to keep the game scoreless until the fifth.
Some singles bunched together that inning, including a John Baker bunt toward third, helped the Padres load the bases with none out. Ramirez was supposed to field the ball, but let it go by him.
One out later, a Will Venable single opened the scoring.
Ackley then threw away the back end of an attempted double play, allowing two more runs to score. San Diego got six straight hits in the sixth inning to chase Ramirez from the game and take a 6-0 lead.
"I was a little wild and my pitches were up," Ramirez said. "My pitches stayed up and the hitters, they took advantage of that."
On the bunt by Baker, the follow-through Ramirez made on his pitch left him out of position to field it properly. The bunt was harder than normal, he added, and the only way he could have fielded it in time would have been a sliding stop.
But he didn't attempt one.
"Erasmo just has to go get the ball and get the lead runner at third base right there on that play — which obviously makes it a completely different inning," Wedge said, noting it's a play the Mariners practice all the time.
"One thing I don't like is quick outs early in the count on pitcher's pitches," he said. "What we were doing when we were really swinging the bats well is taking those pitches, getting into hitters' counts and then we have an opportunity to be aggressive and get pitches to hit.
"We've gotten away from that a little bit. "Hey, we've got to get out of this funk here at home."
Wedge won't blame the ballpark and it's doubtful his players will moving forward. If they keep on failing, it's seemingly going to be all on them.