Roenis Elias had his worst outing of his career at the worst possible time. The young lefty never made it out of fourth inning, lasting just 31/3 innings and giving up eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits in a 13-0 loss.
HOUSTON — By the fourth inning, defeat was a given for the Mariners. Really, the only questions for the last five interminable innings of Sunday’s 13-0 shellacking at the hands of the Astros were these:
When or would Seattle get a hit?
How much would the Mariners lose by?
Mariners @ San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., ROOT Sports
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The poll has expired. Thank you for your submissions.Seattle avoided the embarrassment of being no-hit when Austin Jackson doubled into the left-field corner with one out in the sixth inning off Houston reliever Tony Sipp.
Houston reached double figures against Seattle for the second time in the three-game series in a trouncing that dropped the Mariners to 28-35.
“It wasn’t much of a game,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
It really wasn’t much of a game after the third inning. The Mariners didn’t pitch, didn’t hit and didn’t score.
“You lose 13-0, not a lot goes right,” said third baseman Kyle Seager.
The two losses to the Astros in the series were dreadful. The fact that Seattle rolled to an 8-1 win on Saturday was overshadowed by two shutouts by a combined score of 23-0.
It’s still not certain if the Astros, who are 36-28 and 7½ games up on Seattle, are this good. But it’s getting more difficult to defend the premise that the Mariners, who dropped to 2-8 against Houston this season, aren’t this bad.
Seattle is 3-11 over the past 14 games and sinking slowly in its malaise and misfortune.
“We were playing good and we’ve hit another lull,” Seager said. “We have two options: you can hang your head and feel sorry for yourself or get back to work and keep grinding.”
But grinding has to lead to producing. The Mariners are a collective failure of execution with different aspects of their attack faltering.
In the two losses to Houston, the pitching was horrendous.
Roenis Elias had the worst outing of his career at the worst possible time. The young lefty never made it out of fourth inning, lasting just 31/3 innings and giving up eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits with four walks, two strikeouts and a hit by pitch. He allowed a total of 13 base runners.
“Today, nothing was working,” Elias said through an interpreter.
It started immediately. Elias walked the first batter of the game — George Springer — and it just got worse from there, specifically a hit by pitch on strikeout machine Chris Carter with an 0-2 count. Houston totaled three runs in the inning, thanks to a two-run single from Colby Rasmus and a Seager error on a routine ground ball with two outs.
“I came up on it,” Seager said of the error. “I thought it was going to bounce up and it stayed down. That’s certainly a play I should make.”
A 3-0 lead didn’t seem impossible to overcome with eight innings to play. But it became 5-0 in the third inning when Jake Marisnick lined a two-out double to right-center to score a run and Elias issued back-to-back walks to force in a run.
A five-run deficit for a Mariners team — which had been held hitless to that point by Astros’ starter Lance McCullers, who was neither sharp or overpowering — might as well have been a 15-run deficit.
Houston knocked Elias out of the game with one out in the fourth inning, on Rasmus’ bloop RBI single.
“He just didn’t have his command much today,” McClendon said. “His fastball command wasn’t there, his curveball command wasn’t there. He didn’t use his changeup well. He’d been on a roll and pitching extremely well. It’s a tough one.”
Danny Farquhar came on to squelch the rally, but dumped a load of nitroglycerin on it instead, giving up a two-run double to Hank Conger and a two-run homer to Luis Valbuena.
When the fourth inning finally ended, it was 10-0 and the Mariners still hadn’t gotten a hit. McCullers needed 90 pitches to make it through five innings, but didn’t allow a hit.
Mariners pitching allowed plenty of hits, a total of 14. Mark Lowe, Charlie Furbush and Carson Smith all gave up runs in their relief appearances.
The offense was not without blame, mustering two hits — Jackson’s double and a single from Seager.
The Mariners now travel to San Francisco for a two-game series at AT&T Field against the defending World Series champs. There is no quick fix for the Mariners, except to keep playing, and hopefully play better.
“Turn the page and get ready for San Francisco,” McClendon said.