Erasmo Ramirez lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, in his season debut and the Mariners went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Mitch Haniger did everything he could to lead the Mariners to a three-game sweep of the Rangers.
He pummeled Texas pitching throughout the weekend series at Globe Life Park. But in the end, his red-hot bat, and all the damage it wrought, wasn’t enough for Seattle to win a third straight game.
While Haniger went 3 for 5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBI, the rest of the lineup squandered far too many scoring opportunities in a 7-4 loss. The Mariners finished an anemic 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 runners on base. Their four runs scored could have easily been seven or eight.
“Obviously Haniger had a huge day, but with all that traffic on the bases, you are hoping for more than four runs,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “It was a good series. We won the series. It would have been nice to get the sweep today. We had the chances. We just didn’t get the hits today.”
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Seattle fell to 11-9. It was just the second time in 11 games the Mariners lost when they scored four runs or more.
Haniger finished the series with seven hits in 12 at-bats, including three doubles, three homers (one in each game) and seven RBI. For the season, he’s hitting. 314 (22 for 70) with .390 on-base percentage, a .671 slugging percentage, four doubles, seven homers and 22 RBI.
“He’s making adjustments a little quicker,” Servais said. “The league is certainly pitching him more carefully now that they have a little track record on him. But Hanny has been outstanding.”
After starting the 2018 season on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, Erasmo Ramirez returned to his spot in the rotation and gave the Mariners a so-so outing.
With a taxed bullpen from Saturday night, the Mariners needed a quality start or something near it from Ramirez. He didn’t provide it. He pitched just 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
“The only good point was not being sore and not feeling the stuff from spring training,” Ramirez said. “There’s no more time for excuses. I got my games in the minors and I was executing pitches better than I was today. My fastballs were up and breaking balls were a little high and I was behind a lot of the times in the count.”
The current Rangers lineup isn’t quite as potent as past years with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor on the disabled list. But the middle of the order — Nomar Mazara, Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo — provide a fair amount of danger to a misplaced pitch.
With Seattle already trailing 1-0, Ramirez was reminded of that in a costly fourth inning. Mazara smashed a one-out solo homer to deep right-center to give Texas a 2-0 lead. Beltre, who had doubled in his fist at-bat, worked a walk, bringing the hulking Gallo to the plate. The all-or-nothing lefty power hitter got all of an outside fastball, muscling it over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead.
“I thought the stuff wasn’t as sharp or as crisp,” Servais said. “He got through that fourth inning and the stuff started to back off even more.”
Seattle answered in the top of the fifth. Ben Gamel notched his first hit of the season, tripling off the wall in left. He scored easily on Jean Segura’s RBI single to right. Haniger cut the lead to 4-2, scoring Segura with his second double of the game down the third-base line.
After Ramirez gave up a run in the fifth, Servais turned to power lefty James Pazos to give the Mariners innings and outs. Pazos pitched a career-high 2 2/3 innings, not allowing a run to score, giving up just one hit and striking out two batters. He saved the bullpen and kept the Mariners in it.
“He did an outstanding job today,” Servais said. “It’s the best he’s thrown all year. We extended him longer than we were anticipating, but we would not have been in the game without him.”
Two innings later with the Mariners trailing 5-2, Haniger smashed his team-high seventh homer over the wall in deep right-center. The two-run shot trimmed the lead to 5-4.
But Seattle couldn’t keep it a one run. The Rangers picked up two runs in the eighth off of Nick Vincent on a Isiah Kiner-Falefa single to stretch the lead to 7-4.
Like so often in the game, the Mariners threatened in the ninth against closer Keone Kela. Robinson Cano led off with a single and Nelson Cruz doubled. But Kela struck out Kyle Seager, Ichiro and got Dee Gordon to pop out to shallow left to end the game.