The Mariners manage to get swept by the Twins, as Taijuan Walker could not get out of the fifth inning and Minnesota hits three homers in a 5-4 victory on Sunday.
It’s not a curse or a psychological complex. It’s not the marine layer or the anxiety of playing in front of large crowds, or any other offshoot excuse.
It’s execution, or specifically a lack of it.
It was evident in the Mariners’ past failures at Safeco Field and it was obvious over the last three days in getting swept by the Minnesota Twins.
Padres @ Mariners, 1:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
Sunday’s 5-4 loss in the series finale capped a disappointing weekend against the team that came in with the worst record in the American League.
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“It’s not one particular area,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve gotten hits and we’ve gotten some quality innings, but just didn’t put anything together in this series. We’ve struggled. We’ll get back at it tomorrow.”
For those watching the last three games, it was hard to realize the discrepancy in records and in the two teams’ places in the American League standings.
“They’re talented,” Servais said. “I’m sure in their minds they are playing below what they expected to be this season. They swung the bats well. We certainly didn’t take them for granted.”
Seattle got subpar outings from its starting pitchers, failed in situational hitting with runners in scoring position and made costly mistakes on the basepaths and in the field. Playing like that at Safeco or away from it is unlikely to yield optimal results.
That it’s happened more in Seattle is frustrating for the Mariners and galling for their fans. Seattle (28-21) has been swept at home by the A’s (21-29), Angels (21-29) and Twins (15-34). The Mariners are 3-4 in home series with a 10-14 record.
For the second straight game, the Mariners made it close at the end. Down 5-2 and with two outs, Adam Lind singled off Twins’ closer Kevin Jepsen and Franklin Gutierrez crushed his fourth homer of the season — a towering shot to center — to cut the lead to one run. Could it have been more? Perhaps, but Nelson Cruz’s leadoff single had been erased by Kyle Seager’s double play minutes before. Prior to the double play, Cruz had chance to advance on a ball in the dirt. But after hesitating, he chose not to go with the late jump. His teammates’ base running gaffes from the night before were still fresh in his mind.
Servais called on Dae-Ho Lee to pinch hit for Chris Iannetta, but Jepsen struck him out to end the game.
Seattle got an uneven performance from Taijuan Walker. The young right-hander never made it out of the fifth inning, giving up five runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts to fall to 2-5 on the season.
Three of those six hits allowed were solo homers.
“I probably should have gone fastball more,” Walker said. “I tried to sneak some offspeed by them. I just have to establish my fastball early and once I do that, I can work off that.”
Given a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Cano’s 15th homer of the season, a line drive solo shot over the wall in right of Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, Walker handed the run back immediately in the top of the second. Robbie Grossman launched a solo blast to deep right-center on a 3-2, 95-mph fastball to tie the score at 1-1.
The Mariners answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead. Seager doubled off the wall in right-center and later scored on a wild pitch from Nolasco to make it 2-1.
But the long ball got to Walker again. Joe Mauer sat on a 1-2 changeup that stayed up in the zone and drove it over the wall in left. It was his sixth homer of the season and third in the series. In 41 career games at Safeco, Mauer is hitting .316 (48 for 152) with five homers and 27 RBI.
Miguel Sano also continued his torment of Mariners pitchers. The big slugger followed with a solo homer of his own, a blast into left-center. Sano had a home run in each of the games vs. the Mariners and also has homers in four straight games.
|Swept at home|
|Two months into the season, the M’s have already been swept at home three times|
|Athletics||April 8, 9, 10|
|Angels||May 13, 14, 15|
|Twins||May 27, 28, 29|