In a game that should’ve been a celebration of a rejuvenated offense and some much-needed production from some of the struggling bats in the bottom of the order, the Mariners found numerous ways to earn a 9-8 defeat in what should’ve been a comfortable victory over the Texas Rangers.
“There’s so much that happened in the course of that game, I don’t know quite where to start,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was wild game. You have those games down here once in a while.”
On a night where the Mariners banged out double-digit hits for the second straight game and crushed three homers, including a two-run homer and an RBI double from Evan White, it wasn’t enough. It was just the sixth time in 21 games where the Mariners scored four or more runs and lost.
White’s homer in the second inning snapped an 0-for-27 stretch and he sped around the bases as if they might take it away from him.
“I haven’t been on base in such a long time I forgot what it was like to touch the bases,” he said. “So I wanted to touch them as quick as possible.”
It was the third time in 15 games this season where the Mariners lost a game when leading after seven innings.
“We just couldn’t shut them down at the end,” Servais said. “Texas has been hot and has been swinging the bat really well. Our bullpen has been really, really strong, but tonight we just couldn’t quite shut them down. We allowed a lot of big two-out hits and that became the difference in the ballgame.”
Forced to use another bullpen day where a collection of relievers would be relied upon to piece together nine innings, the Mariners lost a long reliever/starter to injury while two of their most reliable relievers — right-hander Will Vest and lefty Anthony Misiewicz — couldn’t hold leads given to them.
After throwing 1 2/3 innings on Friday night, allowing one hit, Misiewicz started the bottom of the eighth with a 7-6 lead thanks to Luis Torrens’ go-ahead solo homer in the eighth.
Misiewicz’s first pitch of the inning — a fastball to Adolis Garcia — was crushed over the wall in center for a game-tying homer. It wouldn’t get better. He would allow an RBI double to Jonah Heim that gave Texas an 8-7 lead.
“Miz just wasn’t as sharp tonight,” Servais said. “That’s not typically what we see from him. He left some balls out over the plate, and they were very aggressive and got after him.”
The next batter, Willie Calhoun, hit a ground ball to shortstop J.P. Crawford, who fired home to Torrens for what should’ve been an easy out with Charlie Culberson running on contact.
Torrens thought the bases were loaded and there was a force play at home. He caught the ball, stepped on home and went to throw to first before realizing what he had done as Culberson slid into home with an insurance run that made it 9-7.
“We haven’t had a lot of mental mistakes this year, where guys forget how many out there are or the game situation or things like that,” Servais said. “It should never happen quite frankly at the Major League level, but it does once in a while. There was a lot of action in that game, a lot of base runners, but really no excuses for it. He feels terrible about it, but you got to move forward. Mistakes happen and he’ll be OK. He’ll learn from it.”
That one run loomed large when the game ended with Kyle Lewis, who represented the tying run instead of the go-ahead run, got thrown out at home plate to end the game.
Mitch Haniger drew a leadoff walk from Rangers closer Ian Kennedy and Lewis singled to left. With two outs and runners still on first and second, J.P. Crawford hit a pop up into shallow left-center that couldn’t be caught. Haniger scored easily while third base coach Manny Acta tried to score Lewis from first base. But Garcia picked up the ball and fired it home where Heim fielded the ball off one bounce with backhand stab and wheeled around to tag Lewis just before he could touch home.
“Their center fielder made a heck of a throw,” Servais said. “He’s charging like heck, and they’re playing no doubles there. We actually did the right thing by sending (Lewis). Give some credit on the short-hop pick by the catcher. It was a bang-bang play.”
As if the Mariners’ starting-pitching situation wasn’t already lacking depth in terms of quality and quantity, Servais watched as another pitcher that could provide multiple innings exit the game with an injury.
Right-hander Ljay Newsome left with head athletic trainer Kyle Torgerson after feeling something in his elbow after a pitch with two outs in the fourth inning. The Mariners announced that Newsome was diagnosed with elbow inflammation.
Newsome is likely headed for a stint on the injured list where he will join starters Marco Gonzales (forearm strain), James Paxton (Tommy John surgery) and Nick Margevicius (shoulder inflammation).
The Mariners tried to use Newsome to fill the spot once held by Paxton and then Margevicius in the six-man rotation. But after struggles in a start vs. the Angels, they opted to use an opener and have Newsome pitch in the “bulk” role.
He entered the game with two outs in the third inning for opener Erik Swanson and the Mariners leading 4-1. After getting that final out of the third inning, Newsome struggled in the fourth, giving up three runs, including a massive two-run homer to Joey Gallo and an RBI double to Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Newsome was replaced by Vest, who got the final out of the fourth inning. After a scoreless fifth inning, the Mariners asked Vest to finish the sixth. But he suffered his first real hiccup of the season, giving up two runs on a Kiner-Falefa two-run single with two outs.