BY Anthony Dion 11:20PM 04/21/2014

Can’t hit, catch or pitch: Epic Mariners fail

Returning home from a six-game losing skid, the Seattle Mariners thought they had the perfect antidote. They had their ace, Felix Hernandez, going against the worst offense in the American League. The Houston Astros entered with a team batting average of .197. No other team in the AL had an average under .230, including the Mariners.

Unfortunately for Seattle, the game was a rout — the wrong way. Behind a four-run sixth inning, Houston clubbed Hernandez into his worst outing this season, a 7-2 loss, the Mariners’ seventh consecutive.

Houston broke through in the fifth inning when Matt Dominguez hit a two-run home run, scoring Alex Presley, who had singled and advanced to second when centerfielder Abraham Almonte misplayed the ball.

The Mariners answered in the bottom half when Kyle Seager singled and Mike Zunino doubled to put runners on second and third. After Brad Miller struck out, Almonte hit a double down the right field line to tie the game at 2.

In the sixth inning, the Mariners kicked away another win and hand Hernandez his first loss.

After Jose Altuve hit a leadoff double, Dexter Fowler attempted to sacrifice him to third. Zunino pounced on the bunt and threw to third without hesitation. The throw was on target to Seager and had Altuve beat, but Seager could not make the catch. Both runners were safe. Jason Castro followed with a sacrifice fly.

After Hernandez struck out rookie George Springer, three consecutive hits yielded three more runs and Houston had a 6-2 lead.

Giving extra outs has been a problem for the Mariners during their losing streak. They couldn’t overcome it Monday even with Hernandez on the mound. Hernandez went seven innings, yielding six runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four.

Seattle (7-12) struggled against Houston starter Dallas Keuchel. Dustin Ackley, moved into the second spot in the batting order by McClendon, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. They finished with seven hits and 13 strikeouts. With two runs Monday, the team has scored two or fewer runs nine times in 19 games.

Keuchel worked six innings, yielding six hits, two runs and one walk while striking out seven.

A moment that summarized Seattle’s night came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Zunino launched a Chad Qualls offering into the back row of the upper deck stands in left field, one of the longest balls ever hit at Safeco, yet was foul by perhaps two feet. After a review confirmed the call, Zunino struck out on the next pitch.

Notes

Starter Hisashi Iwakuma will make his first rehabilitation start Tuesday when he pitches for AAA Tacoma . . . Manager Lloyd McClendon said LHP James Paxton is on schedule with the original six- to eight-week timetable to return from the back muscle strain he suffered April 8 . . . Taijuan Walker will see a doctor Wednesday and if everything appears fine, will play catch soon. McClendon said Walker’s sore shoulder feels “much better.”


YourThoughts

  • Tim

    It must be getting toward late April or something…as predictable as the weather.

    • art thiel

      It’s a building block toward elimination by Memorial Day, the club’s traditional departure date.

    • Pixdawg13

      Now who says the weather’s predictable?

  • Stephen Johnson

    Is it just me or are the M’s are falling out of contention earlier than usual this year?

    • art thiel

      You may have read they have an injured pitcher or two. Which doesn’t explain Felix.

      • ollie swensen

        i would like to see some of their pitchers try to hit. don’t they hit in the minors? could it be any more painful to watch?
        it never fails to amuse me that no player once donning a mariner uniform, in recent history, can hit their way out of a wet paper bag. the saying that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn on occasion is lost somewhere in the miasma created by factors beyond what are known to the fans.
        but, then again, they could turn it around. persevere, stay focused on the small things, and rally to a win enoughl that it could mean something.
        anywho, heres to another season of filling the safeco field stands with bobblehead(ed) fans.
        lots of close parking. oh boy, garlic fries, hydro races, and the moose.
        with the viaduct crumbling, the tunnel now not only an eyesore but also an economic drag to the businesses that are stuck in the vicinity for an extra year, we can leave after the 3rd and help keep the lights on in these businesses on day games and weekends.
        lots of parking, close and cheap.
        woo hoo

  • mindful

    Thank You M’s , We now get to have no hope and it ended early and we get to enjoy the summer with are family and talk about the hawks and the sounders, Dream about a NBA or NHL team. . FIRE HOWARD and CLEAN OUT THE LOSER WAYS. PLEASEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go NINTENDO.

    Really Just because one of your great grandsons or daughters likes a player mean nothing.

    I think Howard and his minions just want to make Jerry Jones looks like a Angle at .500 ball. .You spent that money on canoe and instead you should have paid billy bean that money.Yet wait !!! .400 ball is fun to watch?

    • art thiel

      That’s it. They bought a canoe, when they meant Cano. It’s what they get for shopping at REI.

  • jafabian

    Felix was off but still there were opportunities to take constrol of the game. Fielding needs work obviously, especially with a young team. Hitting and getting on base is still a problem. Seems like Seager doesn’t like hitting lower in the order and Ackely failed in his debut at #2. Does anyone want to hit other than Cano? Would not surprise me if Montero becomes the DH later this season.

    Very disappointing after a nice start, but sadly this hasn’t surprised me. It’s still early in the season but there needs to be a sense of urgency among the players. There’s a danger of complancy that I’m not sure they’re aware that could happen.

    • notaboomer

      jesus saves!

  • Da Kid

    Remember your headline from yesterday? “Mariners Need Sweep Vs. Wretched Astros”

    You put the word “wretched” in front of the wrong team.

    • art thiel

      Missed it by one.

  • Da Kid

    Refuse the Losers!

    T-shirts next week. You’re welcome.

  • MarkL

    I wasn’t expecting great things this year, but for God’s sake, can’t we at least improve against the worst teams in baseball? Last year we had 20 more wins than the Astros, but were barely .500 against them. The Ms provided them with nearly 20% of their winning games. We won 9 games more than the Marlins last year, and they were 6-10 (I think) and the Ms were 7-8 when we went in there… and got swept. I think that is one of the most aggravating aspects of this team I was hoping would improve this year: not getting winning records against teams who are even much worse than us.

    • 1coolguy

      “I wasn’t expecting great things this year, but for God’s sake, can’t we at least improve against the worst teams in baseball?”

      No……….

  • Amelia_Earwig

    Dear Jack Z,

    That was $240 million well-spent.

    Cheers,
    The Rest of the West

  • 1coolguy

    Would have loved to be a fly on the wall of Lincoln’s suite last night.
    First he sees no fans showed up, even though the King was pitching.
    Then the error resulting in 4 runs.
    Then the King leaving the mound.
    Then the final home run (if Lincoln was still in the park).
    Wow, plenty of opportunity for some serious invective!!!

    He’s probably already told Z to load up the reasons to fire McClendon so his parting will appear mutual.

    WEDGE must be doing HANDSTANDS!

  • giorgio547

    “It’s all Chuck Armstrong’s fault”…

  • giorgio547

    “It’s all Chuck Armstrong’s fault”…