Seattle’s starting pitching has suddenly become a major liability. Nathan Karns was rocked for seven runs in four innings and Texas pranced to a 10-4 victory over the Mariners Saturday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX (box). The Rangers (33-22) moved to a two-game lead (31-24) over Seattle for first place in the AL West.
Karns became the fifth consecutive Seattle starter to implode, the Rangers getting to him for three runs in the first and five over the first three innings. In the past week, Mariners starters have allowed 34 runs on 44 hits. In four of the past five, starters have allowed 16-first-inning runs, including at least three in each of the past four first innings. The bullpen hasn’t been much of a consolation, coughing up an additional 14 tallies over the same span.
The Mariners (7-1-2) also lost their first road series. Seattle had been undefeated in nine consecutive series on the road, the second-longest streak in franchise history (Mariners went undefeated in 28 consecutive road series spanning the 2000-01 seasons).
With Texas ahead 5-3, Karns walked Rougned Odor to start the fifth and followed by allowing Ryan Rua a single to left. Having seen enough of Karns, manager Scott Servais sent for Vidal Nuno, who issued a run-scoring single to Mitch Moreland and a three-run homer to Elvis Andrus.
DH Nelson Cruz hit his 12th homer of the season in the third inning, a solo shot off Texas starter Martin Perez . . . 1!B Dae-Ho Lee received his second consecutive start at first base and went 2-for-4 to hike his batting average to .319 . . . C Chris Iannetta went 3-for-4, scored a run and was the only other Mariner with multi-hits . . . 2B Robinson Cano went 1-for-4 and extended to 33 his streak of consecutive games reaching base, the top mark in the majors . . . 3B Kyle Seager’s streak of four consecutive multi-hit games ended at four as he went 0-for-4 . . . RF Franklin Gutierrez went 1-for-4 (seventh-inning double) and extended his hitting streak to 10 games . . . The Mariners went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
Seeking his team-leading sixth win, Karns allowed eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He departed after 93 pitches, a mere 48 for strikes . . . Steve Johnson worked two innings in relief and allowed a home run to Nomar Mazara.
“We’ll get this turned around, but this is a frustrating stretch right now. That’s a good-hitting club over there, but it was not a good night for us. (Karns) had a hard time getting his curve ball going. It was not his night. As good as our offense has been, that (starting pitching) just sucks the life out of you.” — Servais
The Mariners fell to 1-3 on the five-game road trip and are 3-5 against the Rangers this season . . . Seattle leads the majors with 81 home runs . . . The Mariners are 19-10 on the road and 12-5-2 in overall series . . . The Mariners Saturday promoted pitcher Edwin Diaz from AA Jackson (made room on the roster by optioning Cody Martin back to AAA Tacoma), but did not use the promising prospect.
The series wrapa Sunday with a first pitch at 12:05 p.m., PT. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-4, 4.41) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Derek Holland (4-4, 4.78). Holland is 11-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 22 career games against Seattle. The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night to begin a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians.