The Mariners finish 44-37 on the road and return to Safeco Field for the season's final seven games.
ARLINGTON, Texas — And now seven games remain in the 2018 season — all at home, all meaningless to the Mariners fans who sum up a successful season with a yes or no question: Did you make the playoffs?
That answer would be no. It became official Saturday night when the A’s won on a walk-off wild pitch. But even manager Scott Servais said the Mariners had accepted their fate well before it was official.
“The finality of it set in before the actual mathematical elimination,” he admitted.
Of course, they actually started playing a little better once they accepted that fate. But not so much on Sunday afternoon.
In their final road game of the season, the Mariners slogged their way through a 6-1 defeat against Texas at Globe Life Park, which will be around for just one more year before meeting its demise.
Seattle finished a solid 44-37 away from Safeco Field.
“I think we’ve swung the bat better on the road than we have at home,” Servais said. “I’ve often said you have to hit to on the road to win. Obviously, that’s what we didn’t do enough of today. But overall, we have had some good trips and some good series on the road, but it just hasn’t been enough.”
Coming into Sunday, the Mariners had posted these slash-line splits and runs per game:
- Home: .243/.301/.393 with 3.6 runs per game in 74 games
- Away: .266/.327/.426 with 4.7 runs per game in 80 games.
A night after scoring a season-high 13 runs on 16 hits, including a plethora of extra-base hits, the Mariners were held to just the one run on six hits.
“We had chances,” Servais said. “We had guys out there in scoring position where you need the big double or the big swing of the back to get you back in the game, and we just didn’t get it today.”
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The Mariners went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners. The Rangers made a handful of plays in that situation, including Elvis Andrus’ diving stop on David Freitas’ hard ground ball in the first inning with a runner at third base and two nice catches in the outfield.
“Offensively on this road trip, we did some things better to keep rallies going and put bigger numbers on the board,” Servais said. “Today wasn’t the case.”
Seattle’s lone run came in the third inning. The Mariners grabbed a 1-0 lead when Kristopher Negron doubled to left field and scored on Guillermo Heredia’s double to right field.
That 1-0 lead turned into a 4-1 deficit in an interminable bottom of the sixth that featured four Mariners pitchers and four runs scored on five hits.
After working five shutout innings, Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc was charged with three runs in the sixth. His replacement, Nick Vincent, aided in one of LeBlanc’s runs while giving up one of his own.
LeBlanc gave up singles to Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre to start the inning and misplaced a curveball to Nomar Mazara, which resulted in a two-run double to deep center.
“It was a hanging curveball,” LeBlanc said. “I got him earlier in the game on a breaking ball. I tried to go back to it and just left it up.”
Vincent entered and gave up three straight hits to allow two more runs.
“Vinnie just didn’t have it,” Servais said.
The Rangers picked up two more runs in the eighth inning on a towering two-run homer from pinch hitter Joey Gallo to make it 6-1.
LeBlanc took the loss to fall to 8-5. He wants to make at least one more start in hopes of ending the season with a victory.
“He’s had an outstanding season,” Servais said. “You can’t say enough about how he goes about it and how he prepares. He knows who he is. When he goes out there, he’s got a pretty good idea about how he’s going to attack the opposition. He threw the ball really well today, but they got on him a little in that one inning.”