A day after playing their most crisp and complete baseball game in recent weeks, the Mariners served up an unnecessary and unwanted reminder of how and why they have their current losing record– now 24-33 – and how it’s gotten there following a 13-2 start to the season.

That torrid start seems more like an impossible achievement than a distant memory given the uninspired, careless and non-competitive baseball this team has played for stretches since then.

The latest defeat in this prolonged stretch of losing – an 11-4 drubbing Tuesday by the Rangers – was Seattle’s 10th loss in its past 12 games. After beating Texas in back-to-back games April 25-26 at T-Mobile Park to improve to 18-11, the Mariners have won back-to-back games just once since then while posting a 6-22 record.

And to somehow make yet another defeat worse, young shortstop J.P. Crawford, who was performing well since being called up from Class AAA Tacoma, had to leave the game  in the eighth inning after severely rolling his left ankle in a rundown between third base and home.

Crawford, who had two hits and a walk in the defeat, had to be helped off the field by athletic trainer Matt Toth and manager Scott Servais. He was in noticeable pain. A trip to the injured list seems likely. That Crawford was reacting to a baserunning miscue by Shed Long, who overran second base, was even more galling.

“That was a gut punch to everybody,” Servais said. “J.P. was playing great and not just tonight, but tonight might have been his best game since he was brought up. It’s very disappointing. He’s getting X-rays right now and we’ll know more in the morning. Hopefully, it’s just an ankle sprain and he’ll be back soon.”


Crawford had a .279 average with a .770 on-base plus slugging percentage with six doubles, a homer and five RBI in 17 games. He’d also helped stabilize the infield defense bringing some consistency to the position. The job was his to take and he was starting to own it.

“Can’t say enough about the way he’s been playing,” Servais said. “You can just see the confidence starting to come out of him. He made a couple really nice plays at shortstop tonight. He swung the bat great. It’s unfortunate, (expletive) happens. There’s no other way to explain it. He’s certainly going to be out for a little while. We’ll have to make an adjustment there.”

For the second consecutive start, Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales lost in his matchup against the Texas combo of opener Jesse Chavez and non-starting starter Adrian Sampson.

But unlike a 2-1 nail-biter down in Texas where Gonzales allowed two runs (one earned) and the Mariners provided no offense, this time Gonzales got rocked for eight runs in four-plus innings. And the Mariners offense?  Well, it was slightly more productive. But when you give up seven runs in the fifth inning and find yourself down 11-0, the outcome is pretty well decided. The only drama becomes how bad will you get beaten and when backup catcher Tom Murphy would pitch?

However, the Mariners bullpen was rested enough that they didn’t need Murphy to make his third appearance in relief this season to soak up some innings.

“I don’t know if we can use that as an excuse, we know that going in,” Gonzales said of facing the Rangers in back-to-back starts. “We face a lot of teams a lot of times. My next two starts are against Anaheim. So I’m not going to use it as an excuse.”


A night after playing a rare game without committing an error, the Mariners didn’t make it through the first inning without a miscue. With runners on first and second, the Rangers attempted a double steal. Catcher Omar Narvaez’s late throw to third base short-hopped Kyle Seager and bounced under his glove and into left field. The error was charged to Narvaez, but it’s a play Seager typically makes or at least knocks down. Instead, it allowed Shin-Soo Choo to score with ease while Hunter Pence, who was running from first base, never slowed down as the ball rolled into shallow left field. He easily beat the offline throw from Crawford.

A two-run error in the first inning is a suboptimal start to be sure, but not necessarily surprising given how this team has played in the field. It was the Mariners’ 60th error of the season, running their total of unearned runs to 51. Both totals lead Major League Baseball by a wide margin.

The remainder of the runs scored off Gonzales were definitely earned by the Rangers. In the third inning, Joey Gallo hit a rocket single off the glove of Long that had a 111 mph exit velocity. Nomar Mazara followed with a two-run homer to dead center on a 0-2 fastball. Gonzales tried to elevate with two strikes, but it didn’t get high enough and at 89 mph, the ball rocketed off Mazara’s bat at 108 mph.

“We were trying to go up and not high enough,” Gonzales said. “Middle up, belt-high, I think he hits that pitch pretty well. I was trying to elevate above that and didn’t get the pitch there.”

Gonzales started the fifth inning and never recorded an out. He gave up a lead-off double to Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, a single to Choo and hit Elvis Andrus with a pitch. The bases didn’t stay loaded for long. Pence hit a two-run double to left-center to make it 6-0, ending Gonzales outing.

Reliever Brandon Brennan couldn’t put an immediate stop to the run scoring. After Brennan struck  out Gallo and intentionally walked Mazara, Asdrubal Cabrera lined a single to right field, scoring two more runs that were charged to Gonzales. Gonzales was credited with four innings, six earned runs allowed on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts to fall to 5-5.


“Tonight, Marco wasn’t as crisp with any of his pitches and wasn’t locating like he typically does,” Servais said. “Marco is a really good competitor and it drives him crazy when he’s not able to get deep into ballgames. He’ll make an adjustment and get back on track.”

But the inning wasn’t over. Ronald Guzman put the Rangers in double figures, golfing a changeup into the outdoor seating of the Hit It Here Café for a three-run homer and 11-0 lead. It’s the 12th time in 57 games that an opponent has scored double-digit runs against the Mariners.

The Mariners couldn’t quite match the seven runs in the bottom of the inning, but picked up two on Mallex Smith’s two-run double to left-center. Crawford added a run-scoring single in the sixth to make cut the lead to 11-3.

Sampson, a Seattle native and Skyline High standout, picked up his second victory against the Mariners in as many extended relief outings.

Chavez worked a 1-2-3 first inning, but Sampson, who was once in the Mariners organization, did the heavy work. With a very vocal and supportive cheering section of friends and family, Sampson pitched five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts to improve to 3-3.