Entering Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Angels, Mariners starting pitcher Chris Flexen hadn’t allowed more than three runs in his last 11 consecutive starts. 

That streak was snapped Saturday night, though. Flexen allowed five earned runs across six innings in the loss, tying his second most of the season. After Flexen exited, Brennan Bernardino gave up another two runs in the ninth. The Mariners lost 7-1, marking their largest margin of defeat to the Angels this year. 

“Just inconsistent is the best word to describe the outing today,” manager Scott Servais said of Flexen. 

Flexen allowed a single from Magneuris Sierra and then a double from Taylor Ward to make it 1-0. He allowed Max Stassi to hit an RBI single to left field to make it 2-0. And he allowed Mickey Moniak to launch a homer in the fourth inning, and then watched David Fletcher homer in the sixth. 

“Unfortunately, the mistake to Fletcher hurt and really opened up the game for them,” Servais said.

The Mariners left seven runners on base, too. Seattle is now 4-7 against the Angels this season and sits 12 games behind the division-leading Astros.


After a 2-1 win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Mariners activated Mitch Haniger from the 60-day injured list. Haniger started in right field for the second game, his first game since April 29.

With his return, the Mariners lineup featured five consecutive former All-Stars — Adam Frazier, Ty France, Haniger, Eugenio Suarez and Carlos Santana. It didn’t pay off though. 

Haniger’s return wasn’t eventful as he grounded out to the shortstop, earned one walk, struck out and doubled to left field. 

The Mariners managed just one hit across the first four innings. Their bats were making contact, but only to routinely launch balls high into the sky that the Angels outfielders caught with ease. Servais said the Mariners needed more from Santana and Suarez in the middle of their lineup.

“A lot of soft outs in the air,” Servais said. “When we see that happening, a lot of it is in-between. You’re late on the fastball, you’re out in front a little bit on the breaking ball. … That’s what it looked like to me today — just in-between and not a full commitment to one or the other.”

T-Mobile Park came to life momentarily when catcher Luis Torrens hit his first home run of the year, but that excitement was quickly smashed when Fletcher’s homer in the sixth put the game out of reach.


“We didn’t get a whole lot going other than when Luis Torrens swung the bat very well tonight,” Servais said.

For Torrens, days ago at the MLB’s trade deadline, the catcher sat quietly at his locker as the Mariners searched for a potential replacement. Torrens’ performance this season has been subpar — he’s batted .202/.254/.218 heading into Saturday night’s contest, and his defensive play has been less than ideal. On deadline day, the Mariners added Giants catcher Curt Casali. When Torrens saw the news, he got up and walked out of the clubhouse.

Saturday night, however, his solo home run was the Mariners’ only glimmer of hope. It helped Seattle avoid what would’ve been its first shutout in almost a month and a half.

“What we saw today, that was vintage Luis Torrens,” Servais said, referencing Torrens’ 15 home runs last season.

Torrens’ score in the bottom of the fifth inning was followed by a Sam Haggerty double that fell just short of the left-field wall, just short of back-to-back homers, bringing T-Mobile Park’s 27,065 fans to life briefly.

Torrens singled in the seventh inning, too, with a sharp line drive to left field, putting runners on first and second, but the Mariners couldn’t capitalize. Haggerty struck out swinging on a full-count pitch, and the Mariners did little afterward.


Haniger didn’t have the return that he might’ve hoped for. In the outfield, his third-inning mistake didn’t officially go down as an error, but he missed J.P. Crawford by a fair margin on a throw that allowed an Angels runner to double. Los Angeles scored its first run of the night on that play.

Haniger had COVID in April, and then rolled his ankle on his first plate appearance afterward. He underwent rehab stints in Everett (High-A) and Tacoma (Triple-A) beginning July 22. Abraham Toro was optioned to Triple-A to free a roster spot for Haniger to return.

Last year, Haniger had a career-high 39 home runs, 100 RBI and 110 runs scored in 157 games. He was instrumental to Seattle’s 90-win season and had a strong end-of-season spurt in September. The Mariners will hope that he can work back toward that form as they look to make a playoff push in the final months of the season.

“I’ve been really excited to get back, so I’ve been working as hard as possible to get back out here and lead this team to the playoffs,” Haniger said. “That’s always been the goal, that’s always been the focus.”

Seattle’s bats eventually heated up as the game went on (seven hits), but it was to no avail. 

The Angels bunted to open the ninth inning, and Bernardino missed the throw to first baseman France. The error cost the Mariners a run, and the Angels tacked on another before the night was up.

“We struggled today, that’s the bottom line,” Servais said. “When we get it all clicking, it should be a really tough lineup to get through, [but] it’s just not clicking today, and we struggled.”