When the Mariners (29-36) embarked on their eight-game road trip through Cleveland, Houston and San Francisco last week, they stood 8.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. They will return to Safeco Field Wednesday night still 8.5 in arrears after losing to San Francisco Tuesday 6-2 at AT&T Park an hour (box score) after Houston dispatched the Colorado Rockies 8-5.
It’s down to this: For the Mariners to win 90 games, a presumed baseline for a playoff berth, they will have to go 61-36 the rest of the way, a .628 winning percentage. Best team in the AL right now: Kansas City at .583.
With the Giants leading 3-2 in the eighth, reliever Tom Wilhelmsen recorded two quick outs but then, inexplicably, issued free passes to Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. Big mistakes. Matt Duff, who had a two-run homer in the second inning, followed with an RBI single and Casey McGeehee contributed a two-run double for a 6-2 lead.
Brad Miller accounted for all of Seattle’s offense: An opposite-field solo homer in the fifth (sixth of the year) and an RBI single in the sixth. Miller produced Seattle’s only multi-hit game.
Heckled in every at-bat, Robinson Cano went 0-for-4, his average dipping to .236, forcing Giants’ fans to revise their initial chant of “.239! .239! .239!” James Jones started in center in place of Austin Jackson, given the day off, and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a stolen base, With the Giants leading 3-2 in the sixth and Jones on third, Mike Zunino had a chance to tie the game, but whiffed. He’s batting .163. The Mariners went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.
Seattle starter J.A. Happ worked six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Happ threw far better than in his last outing (2.1 innings at Cleveland) but was stuck with his third loss against three wins after throwing 95 pitches. Happ hasn’t won since May 9 vs. Oakland. Since then, he has two losses and five no-decisions.
Ex-closer Fernando Rodney, still trying to find his form, threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Former University of Washington star Tim Lincecum earned the win, improving to 7-3 with 5.2 innings — he gave up no hits in the first four frames — and issuing four walks.
“Tom’s command was what went wrong. He couldn’t get the ball over the plate. He walks one guy (Posey) and then walks the other guy (Crawford) when he had two strikes on him” — Lloyd McClendon, Mariners manager, on the walks issued by Wilhelmsen.
“A win would have made it a great trip, but 4-4 is just an average trip. We just couldn’t close it out. The perception is that we’re treading water, but the reality is that we are not playing as well as we could be. We’re not getting the hits that can put us over the top” — McClendon
The Mariners have lost 13 of their past 22, are 2-5 in interleague games and 7-12-2 in series played . . . The Mariners used Mark Trumbo (back spasms) as a seventh-inning pinch hitter (ground out to first) and expect him to return to the starting lineup Wednesday . . . When Logan Morrison went 3-for-5 with a stolen base in Monday night’s 5-1 win over San Francisco, he became the first in franchise history to produce three hits and a theft while playing first base and batting leadoff.
The Mariners return to Safeco Field Wednesday for the first of two against Giants. Felix Hernandez (9-3, 3.38), coming off the worst start of his career (0.1 IP, 8 ER at Houston), will face World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner (7-3, 3.16). First pitch is 7:10 p..m.