Without playing a game Thursday, the Mariners (5-3) fell out of a first-place tie in the AL West with the Oakland Athletics (6-3), who hammered the Minnesota Twins 6-1 before departing Minneapolis for Seattle, where they will engage the Mariners in a three-game, weekend series at Safeco Field. The Mariners would have retained a share of first had they defeated the L.A. Angels Wednesday night.
But, held to one hit, Seattle lost to Garrett Richards 2-0, the Mariners unable to do anything offensively except for a third-inning single by Abraham Almonte.
Even with one hit, the Mariners had a chance to get back in the game, and possibly win, after Albert Pujols staked the Angels to a 2-0 lead in the top third with a two-run homer off Roenis Elias. After Almonte’s single, Brad Miller reached reached on an error. Both moved into scoring position on a Robinson Cano ground out, but Justin Smoak fanned, denying the Mariners their only scoring opportunity.
The one-hitter marked the 21st no-hit or one-hit game tossed against the Mariners in their 37+ seasons, the first April 15, 1977 when California’s Nolan Ryan baffled the expansion M’s in Anaheim (Ryan threw a second one-hitter at Seattle June 3, 1989 while with Texas).
Oddly, the Mariners won three of those 21 no-hit or one-hit contests, the most recent July 20 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Seattle’s wins while recording one hit:
|Harold Reynolds single
|Desi Relaford single
|Michael Saunders 2B
In the 1989 game in the Kingdome, Seattle’s Brian Holman matched up against Texas knuckleballer Charlie Hough. Although the Rangers tortured Holman for 10 of their 13 hits, they wasted all of them by leaving 14 stranded and going 0-or-8 with runners in scoring position.
Harold Reynolds collected Seattle’s lone hit by leading off the sixth with a single. After advancing to second on a Hough balk and to third on Hough’s wild pitch, he scored on Jeffrey Leonard’s sacrifice fly. An inning later, Mike Kingery walked and eventually came around to score on an error by 3B Steve Buechele. Seattle’s 2-0 lead stood up.
In the 2002 contest, under bright skies at Safeco Field, the Mariners couldn’t do a thing with Yankees starter Ted Lilly until the eighth when Dan Wilson walked. Pinch running for Wilson, Rule V player Luis Ugueto took second on a wild pitch and scored on Desi Relaford’s single to right. The Yankees collected five hits and drew two walks off Freddy Garcia and Kazuhiro Sasaki, but went 0-for-6 with runners poised to score.
In the July 20 game at Minute Maid, the Mariners pushed across four runs across despite the lone hit. Trailing 2-0 in sixth, Michael Saunders and Brad Miller walked and both advanced on a passed ball. Nick Franklin brought Saunders home with a sacrifice fly and Miller scored on another passed ball, tying the game and chasing Houston starter Erik Bedard, the former Mariner.
In the seventh, Saunders hit a two-run double off Jose Cisnero, scoring Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino. That made a winner out of Hisashi Iwakuma, who allowed seven hits, all meaningless. The Astros left seven on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
AL WEST: The Athletics have gone nine consecutive games to start the season without a starter allowing more than three runs. Dan Straily (1-1) added to the streak Thursday by giving up one run while striking out five.
Since collecting 34 hits (and 26 runs) in their season-opening, three-game sweep in Anaheim, the Mariners have 30 hits and 13 runs in their last five.
EX-MARINERS: Boston’s David Ortiz, a Seattle farmhand until his ill-advised trade to Minnesota for Dave Hollins in 1996, set an MLB “record” for slow Wednesday night when he took 32.91 seconds to circle the bases after hitting a three-run home run. According to Wezen-ball.com’s Tater Trot Tracker, this was the slowest poke around the bases, breaking the previous record of 31.56 seconds by Bobby Abreu in 2012.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre strained a quadriceps muscle in Tuesday’s game and flew back to Texas for treatment. He will miss at least several games, but the Rangers held off putting him on the 15-day disabled list in case he can play with it.
NEXT: Felix Hernandez (2-0, 1.88) will make his 2014 home debut Friday opposite the Athletics’ Tommy Milone (0-0, 0.00). This is the second time in his 10 seasons that Hernandez has opened a season 2-0 (also 2007). He has never opened 3-0.