The Mariners (7-8) slipped under .500 for this first time this season Thursday despite bunching a season-high tying six runs in the third inning. But they couldn’t do anything else against a parade of Texas relievers, losing 8-6 to end their four-game road series with the Rangers in Arlington 1-3. The Mariners have lost five of their last six.
Less than 24 hours after suffering a horrendous walk-off loss Wednesday that spoiled another Felix Hernandez gem, the Mariners fell behind Texas 3-0 in the first inning as the Rangers tore through Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez. After batting around in the third for a 6-4 lead, the Mariners allowed the Rangers two runs in the third and two in the fifth and had no more answers offensively.
If the Mariners didn’t have so many rotation issues, particularly injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, Ramirez might be heading to AAA Tacoma after his miserable two-inning outing.
Ramirez allowed five earned runs on six hits, sustaining his third consecutive beating after opening the season with an 8-3 win at Anaheim. In the three, Ramirez has permitted 13 earned runs on 18 hits.
“I’m very disappointed,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Ramirez. “I thought he showed signs of coming out of it, but he had a lack of command again. I’m very concerned. We’re going to have to continue to work through this and get him right. I’ve said all along that our bullpen is the backbone of our club, but if we continue to use them the way we have been (referring to the combined six innings Ramirez and Wednesday starter Blake Beavan threw in Texas), we are not going to be any good.”
After Ramirez got a reprieve when the Mariners took a 6-4 lead in the third, he immediately gave up a leadoff double to Kevin Kouzmanoff, prompting McClendon to reach for the hook. But reliever Dominic Leone couldn’t prevent the Rangers from tying the score. Leone’s successor, Joe Beimel, allowed two more, one on a wild pitch.
Robinson Cano highlighted the Seattle third with a three-run homer, his first long ball in a Mariner uniform. Corey Hart followed with a solo blast, the third time this season that the Mariners had homered twice in an inning and the second time they hit them back-to-back, following Justin Smoak and Hart April 2 in Anaheim.
The homers chased Texas starter Tanner Scheppers and brought on former Mariner Hector Noesi, who promptly issued a two-run double (both runs unearned) to Dustin Ackley for a 6-4 Seattle lead. But that was all the run production the Mariners could generate.
One day after his E6 set the stage for Texas’s walk-off win Wednesday, Brad Miller went 2-for-4 and reached base three times. Hart, playing in right for the first time since July 2012, had two hits and reached four times. Ackley also had a pair of hits as Seattle accumulated 10. But the Mariners left eight stranded and hit 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“This was a tough series for us, but this isn’t my first rodeo,” said McClendon. “We’re only 15 games into the season. This was Texas’s series. But we’ll see them again.”
Kouzmanoff, replacing injured Adrian Beltre at third base, had another big day, going 2-for-5 with an RBI. During the series, he went 7-for-17 with five RBIs.
NEXT: Q three-game, weekend series begins in Miami Friday (first pitch 4:10 p.m.). Chris Young (0-0, 0.00), who threw six shutout innings against Oakland in his first start of the season, will oppose RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 4.19). The Mariners are 5-4 all-time against the Marlins, including 2-1 in Miami. The clubs have not met in south Florida since 2005, when Aaron Sele, with relief help from J.J. Putz and Ron Villone, beat the Marlins 8-0.
NOTES: Corey Hart made his Mariners debut in right field Thursday and came up with a three notable catches, including a sliding grab in the sixth inning. Hart also hit a team-leading fourth home run, tops on the club . . . RHP Stephen Pryor completed his rehabilitation assignment, has been re-instated from 15-day disabled list and optioned to AAA Tacoma. Pryor, 24, was placed on the 15-day DL March 29, retroactive to March 21, after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle.