Not only can’t the Mariners hit, on Sunday they couldn’t pitch, either. No. 5 starter Aaron Harang and former No. 5 Blake Beavan collaborated to issue four home runs, the killer Harang’s grand-slam gopher offering to Nelson Cruz, as the Mariners were broomed by the Texas Rangers, 11-3. Seattle’s most lopsided loss of the season followed back-to-back 7-0 and 5-0 losses.
With the defeat, Seattle’s third debacle in a row and fifth loss in six games, the Mariners dropped to 7-13, three games behind their 2012 mark after 20 (10-10). The Mariners were 5.5 games behind in the division race after 20 last year, and are six behind this season. The way they’ve not played, they are fortunate to be that close.
Harang (0-2) pitched effectively through the first three innings, but then allowed seven earned runs, including five in the fifth, over the next two. He went 4.2 innings and allowed eight earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He surrendered three home runs and departed with a 10.24 ERA.
Aside from two early runs, Mariners hitters failed (again) to give Harang and his replacement, Beavan, much support. Seattle batters fanned 11 times and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The Mariners snapped their scoring drought after 19 innings, tallying an unearned run in the first off starter and winner Justin Grimm (1-0). Endy Chavez reached on a two-base error and scored on Kyle Seager’s double. Seager extended his hitting streak to 10 games, finishing with three hits and driving in two of Seattle’s three runs.
Leonys Martin homered off Harang in the third to tie the score at 1. The Rangers came back with two more in the fourth on Mitch Moreland’s two-run homer to center on a 2-and-1 count.
Chavez, getting the start in center in place of Franklin Gutierrez, brought home Brendan Ryan (single) with a double in the fifth, but Texas drew a five-spot in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single by Ian Kinsler and Cruz’s salami, the first by the Mariners this season.
After Moreland reached on Ryan’s error and Harang walked catcher Geovany Soto on a full count, manager Eric Wedge yanked Harang. Beavan was victimized by former Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre with a two-run bomb to make it 10-2.
The Rangers added an insult run in the eighth, an RBI single by Jeff Baker, and Seager only delayed the inevitable when he hit a solo homer off Michael Kirkman in the ninth.
The Mariners continue their six-game road trip through Texas Monday when they begin a three-game series with the last-place Houston Astros, who took two of three at Safeco Field April 8-10.
Felix Hernandez (1-2), coming off a 12-strikeou, no-decision against Detroit April 17, will oppose Brad Peacock (1-1, 5.27), who has yet to get past five innings this season.
NOTES: Manager Eric Wedge gave CF Franklin Gutierrez another day off to rest Gutierrez’s sore legs, which have bothered him since spring training. Gutierrez has started just three of Seattle’s last nine contests, with Endy Chavez (1-for-5 Sunday) getting the bulk of work in center field. Wedge finally acknowledged Sunday that Gutierrez may be headed toward another stint on the disabled list . . . When the Mariners sustained back-to-back blankings Friday and Saturday, it marked the 32nd time in club history the club failed to score in consecutive games. The Mariners have never suffered three straight goose-egg games.