The Mariners lost 5-1 at Texas, snapping their four-game winning streak and falling to 55-54 on the season. They play a key series against the Royals starting Thursday.
ARLINGTON, Texas — In terms of momentum, either real or perceived, it would have been optimal for the Mariners to put up a third win over the Rangers in as many days at Globe Life Park on Wednesday night.
But it didn’t happen.
Starter Ariel Miranda wasn’t very good on the mound and his teammates weren’t particularly outstanding in the field or at the plate, and the Mariners lost 5-1, snapping their four-game win streak and falling to 55-54 on the season.
Mariners @ Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ROOT Sports
Sure there were moments where the Mariners looked like the team that had played itself into real wild-card contention since the all-star break — the RBI single from Robinson Cano in the first inning and Leonys Martin’s brilliant throw from right field to third base to cut down a stunned Elvis Andrus in the fourth were memorable. But otherwise it was a forgettable performance featuring too many runners stranded on base waiting for a timely hit and too many homers yielded by Miranda.
“It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to end the series,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve played really good the last couple of nights, but home runs hurt us tonight and we just couldn’t get much going offensively. We had some guys on earlier in the game, but we couldn’t get the big hit with runners in scoring position to keep the line moving and put up a big inning.”
There isn’t much time for the Mariners to dwell on their failures. They open a significant four-game series on Thursday at Kaufman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals, who are ahead of them in the wild-card standings.
With a 40-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth inning pushing the game later into the night, the Mariners will have a quick turnaround before facing the Royals. Fortunately for Seattle, Kansas City dealt with a similar delay in its road trip finale in Baltimore.
It’s difficult to think of a series in the first week of August as key, but these four games against the Royals — a team that swept Seattle at Safeco Field a month ago — are as important as any played to date.
“They’ve got a good club and they’ve been playing well,” Servais said. “They’ve been through it. They’ve won and gotten deep in the playoffs and have won it all. It will be a good series. We are looking forward to it. That’s kind of our motto all month is ‘bring it on.’ We’re playing good ball. It was not a great game tonight, but over the last week or so we’ve played very well.”
Taking three of four in the series would be ideal for the Mariners, but a split would also suffice.
“We just have to play the game,” Martin said. “Don’t put a lot of pressure on it. We’ve got a lot of games left, but just go out and play.”
To do that, they’ll need a much better showing than on Wednesday night.
The Mariners grabbed a quick 1-0 lead against Rangers starter Andrew Cashner. Jean Segura was hit by a pitch, stole second on the first pitch to Cano and scored on the second pitch, which was turned into a line drive into center. Nelson Cruz followed with a single to put a pair of runners on and put Cashner into a precarious position.
But in a sign of things to come, Kyle Seager lined out and Danny Valencia struck out looking, stranding the two runners. Seattle would leave two runners on base in the third and fourth inning. The failures to come up with the big hit allowed Cashner, who wasn’t particularly sharp, to pitch six innings, allowing just the one run.
“He kept the ball down,” Servais said. “He was back and forth and threw some change-ups against our left-handed hitters. Give him credit, he kept us off balance.”
In all, the Mariners left nine runners on base and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Meanwhile, Miranda gave the Mariners a middling performance, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and three homers allowed to fall to 7-5. He hasn’t won in his last five outings.
“It was not a good outing tonight,” Miranda said through interpreter and bullpen coach Nasusel Cabrera. “I missed my spots a couple of times and I got hit hard.”
In the fifth, Joey Gallo, a man of Ruthian power but Crossfitter frame, continued his assault on innocent baseballs by crushing a 2-2 slider that acted like a fastball into the porch area in deep center. Statcast measured the blast — his 28th of the season — at 460 feet.
Miranda has allowed 27 homers on the season — among the most in baseball.
“It’s not the problem with which I pitch I throw, it’s a problem with the location,” he said.
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