After scoring 21 runs in three consecutive wins over Texas, the Mariners failed to generate any offense Sunday and lost to the Rangers 1-0 in Arlington, TX., putting a momentary crimp in their run at the AL’s second wild card spot. A sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre off James Paxton in the sixth inning became the winning RBI, ending Seattle’s five-game winning streak.
Manager Lloyd McClendon tried practically all at his disposal to manufacture a run — and keep the Rangers from scoring — after Beltre knocked in what proved to be the game winner.
He trotted out three relief pitchers in the seventh to record an out apiece, employed three pinch hitters after that, and even used relief pitcher Danny Farquhar as a pinch runner. But the Mariners, who went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, didn’t respond, missing what would have been their 36th come-from-behind victory of the season.
“We had some good at-bats,” said McClendon. “We hit several balls on the nose, but it didn’t happen. No, excuses, we just lost. We battled our ass off and lost. That’s baseball, and now we move on.”
The Mariners (78-64) had a prime opportunity to score in the sixth when backup catcher Jose Sucre ripped a one-out double to left. But Texas starter Derek Holland got Austin Jackson to line out to right and fanned Chris Denorfia.
The Mariners had another shot against Holland in the seventh when Robinson Cano and Corey Hart reached with infield singles. Seattle hadrunners at the corners with two outs after Kendrys Morales fanned and Kyle Seager flew to right, but Stefen Romero bounced weakly to third to end that threat.
McClendon used two pinch hitters, Endy Chavez and Logan Morrison, in the eighth, but the Mariners couldn’t take advantage of an Austin Jackson single and reliever Shawn Tolleson’s wild pitch, again coming up empty.
In the ninth, after Cano bounced out, Morales walked and Farquhar ran for him. Seager’s single sent Farquhar to third. But James Jones, who entered the game as a pinch runner, couldn’t solve Neftali Feliz and popped to short. Justin Smoak ended it with a fly ball to left.
“We didn’t win, but I’ll take 5-2,” McClendon said of the Mariners’ record on the seven-game road trip that leaves the club one game ahead of Detroit for the AL’s second wild card spot.
For all of McClendon’s maneuvering, the Mariners failed to handle Holland. Making only his second start of the season, Holland fanned five and didn’t walk a batter in seven innings. The Mariners got some life in the seventh when, although they didn’t score, they forced Holland to throw 30 pitches, greasing his exit after 93 pitches. But the Mariners couldn’t capitalize against Tolleson and Feliz.
Paxton allowed one earned run on five hits in six innings with three strikeouts and two walks and sustained his second loss (5-2, 1.87). Paxton was attempting to become the 12th AL pitcher to win nine of the first 13 starts of a career. Had he won, Paxton would have joined the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka, who won 9 of 12 earlier this season.
Seattle lost by a score of 1-0 for the first time since Aug. 23 vs. Baltimore . . . Had the Mariners won, they would have swept Texas in Arlington in a four-game series for the first time since April 12-15, 2002 . . . The Mariners missed their first six-game winning streak since July 12-23, 2013 . . . Prior to their 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position Sunday, the Mariners hit .329 with RISP since Aug. 6 . . . McClendon gave OF Dustin Ackley the day off Sunday after Ackley suffered a sprained left ankle in Saturday night’s game. McClendon said he didn’t expect the sprain to become a lingering problem.
NEXT: The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night for the second-to-last home stand of the regular season, starting with a three-game set with the Houston Astros. RHP Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.18) will face RHP Brad Peacock (4-8, 5.01). The Mariners are 3-4 against the Astros at Safeco Field this season.