Seattle gave up a franchise-record 28 hits in Tuesday’s game at Minnesota. Best to forget this one. “You have to flush that,” manager Scott Servais said.
MINNEAPOLIS — It’s not often that scoring seven runs in a game won’t even give you a sniff at a victory. But that’s how truly abysmal the Mariners were on Tuesday night at Target Field.
The 20-7 rout by the Twins was record-setting bad — and not in a good way for the Mariners.
Seattle gave up a franchise-record 28 hits in the game, and few of them were bloops. The previous high was 26, which came in a 22-10 loss to the Red Sox on Aug. 15, 2015 at Fenway Park.
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The 28 hits were also a Twins record, eclipsing their franchise high of 25.
The 20 runs were also a season high allowed for the Mariners and scored for the Twins.
The Mariners could have yielded the franchise high of 22 runs allowed had Chris Gimenez’s fly ball to left field been an inch farther and not bounced off the top of the wall and back into the field of play in the eighth inning.
Oh, there was more.
Mariners pitchers gave up a three-homer game to the Twins’ No. 9 hitter, Eddie Rosario, who had two two-run homers and a solo blast and a single on the night. Eduardo Escobar tied a career high with five hits, and the only pitcher to get him out was backup catcher Carlos Ruiz, who pitched in the eighth for Seattle.
Twins catcher Jason Castro had four hits and drove in four runs. And if not for Castro’s two silly baserunning mistakes that led to outs, Minnesota might have scored 25 runs in the game.
It was the type of showing that frustrates a manager. Bad starting pitching and poor relief pitching to follow ruined a good offensive night and then mental and physical mistakes in the field allowed the drubbing to get out of hand.
But it’s also not a game that Scott Servais or his players can dwell upon.
“You have to flush that,” Servais said. “We did it to them last night, and they turned around and did it to us tonight. It is one loss. We’ve been going very good, but tonight was just not a good night. We did a lot of things wrong fundamentally tonight. It was not our night, and it got away from us.”
In many ways a lopsided loss is easier to move on from than a walkoff loss, where every detail and decision is magnified and second-guessed.
“Obviously you don’t want this to happen, close games are the tough ones, but every loss is a little bit hard to swallow,” said catcher Mike Zunino, who had two hits and drove in a run. “Hopefully this one we can just kind of write it off and come back ready to pitch and play better tomorrow.”
The issues started with Seattle starter Christian Bergman and only got worse.
Bergman threw out a clunker of a start, showing minimal command of his pitches and no ability to induce anything but off-the-barrel contact while failing to make it out of the third inning. His line: 22/3 innings, nine runs on 10 hits (two homers) with no walks and three strikeouts.
“My stuff wasn’t very good and I was missing over the plate a lot,” Bergman said. “And the pitches that I thought were good seemed to find holes. It was one of those nights where they couldn’t hit it at someone if they tried.”
It was comparable to his forgettable start on May 23 in Washington, D.C., where he lasted just four innings, giving up 10 runs on 14 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Which was worse? Well, in the game in D.C., a misplayed ball by Nelson Cruz in right field opened the floodgates for an eight-run third inning. If Cruz catches that ball, the Nationals get no runs in the inning.
There were no misplayed balls by the Mariners’ defense against the Twins. Most of the balls that went for hits weren’t of the catchable variety.
And this is the conundrum with Bergman, who doesn’t possess unhittable, swing-and-miss stuff. On nights when he can’t live on the edges of the strike zone consistently, he is going to give up solid contact.
It’s why he’s been a fringe-level pitcher bouncing from the Class AAA level to brief stints in the big leagues for much of his career. And it’s why the Mariners haven’t made any decisions on which starter or starters would leave the rotation when Felix Hernandez returns next week and Hisashi Iwakuma shortly thereafter.
“With our starting pitching and where we’ve gone to guys, we are asking a lot from them,” Servais said. “Tonight just wasn’t Bergy’s night.”
After working a 1-2-3 first inning where he struck out two batters, Bergman’s inability to not elevate pitches or stay out of the middle of the plate led to a plethora of hits and runs.
Given a 3-0 lead before the bottom of the second inning, he gave it back and then some. In a sign of things to come, Bergman served up a solo homer to Max Kepler to start the frame and the Twins later took the lead for good on the first two-run homer from Rosario to make it 4-3.
Two innings into the game, Servais didn’t want to get into his bullpen and stayed with Bergman in hopes of him making an adjustment and turning around the start.
“He’s done that before where he struggled and gone back out and put up a couple of zeros,” Servais said.
It didn’t happen. It actually got worse.
After striking out Joe Mauer to start the inning, Bergman gave up six straight singles that allowed four more runs to score to make it 8-3.
“He just didn’t make any adjustments,” Servais said. “Everything was thigh-high and didn’t have any tilt to it or have a whole lot of movement either. Going to the bullpen in the second or third inning is not what we wanted to do, but eventually we had to.”
Bergman’s replacement, Casey Lawrence, came in and served up back-to-back homers to Rosario and Brian Dozier to make 11-3.
Lawrence worked 32/3 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and likely earned a trip back to Tacoma in yet another long reliever swap. The game went from bad to absurd in the seventh when the Twins added seven more runs off Lawrence and lefty Marc Rzepczynski.
|Most runs allowed|
|A look at some of the franchise’s biggest blowout losses:|
|22||Boston||Aug. 15, 2015|
|20||Minnesota||June 13, 2017|
|20||Detroit||April 17, 1993|
|19||Detroit||April 25, 2017|
|19||Toronto||June 26, 1983|
|19||White Sox||Aug. 9, 2000|