The Mariners’ home woes continued when rookie Taijuan Walker was tagged for three home runs in a 9-6 loss to Texas Tuesday night. After winning five in a row on the road, Seattle (66-73) has lost two straight at Safeco Field to fall to 29-38 in home games this season. At least there were only 13,389 fans there to witness this one.
On a night when the Mariners gave up four homers, it was Texas starter Cole Hamels who was hit the hardest. The veteran left-hander took a line drive off his upper left shoulder, sending him sprawling to the grass in front of the pitcher’s mound, but he was able to laugh off the incident and stay in the game. Hamels got just enough of his glove on the ball to disrupt the trajectory of Jesus Sucre’s screaming liner – and save his kisser.
Walker threw what manager Lloyd McClendon called “a clunker.” That was putting it nicely. The 23-year-old Walker’s night ended after three-plus innings and six runs (five earned). He has logged a career-high 162.2 innings this season and was a candidate to be shut down, especially after Tuesday. But McClendon maintained afterward that Walker will make his next start. The Ramirezes – Jose and Tuesday call-up JC – led a six-reliever effort that was called upon to clean up Walker’s mess over the final six innings. (For what it’s worth, none of the six were pitching in the Majors when the season started.)
The hardest hit of the first six innings came on Sucre’s liner back at Hamels, and even that one didn’t leave a mark. Seattle finally got to Hamels in the seventh, but by then it was too late. 2B Robinson Cano provided the best highlight with a 419-foot shot off reliever Jake Diekman in the eighth. DH Jesus Montero responded to his latest call-up with a 2-for-4 performance that included a seventh-inning RBI and two runs scored. Hot-hitting rookie Shawn O’Malley added an RBI of his own, while Sucre had two hits and 3B Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning single.
“We battled back, but that’s awfully hard . . . just a little too much to overcome.” – McClendon
The Mariners called up four players from Tacoma while also transferring LHP Charlie Furbush from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. The Furbush move, made to create a spot on the 40-man roster, isn’t surprising since he’s expected to miss the rest of the season with a slight tear in his rotator cuff. Seattle added DH Jesus Montero, OF James Jones, RHP J.C. Ramirez and C Steven Baron . . . The most notable omission among the Mariners’ promotions is C Mike Zunino, who appears to have played his last major-league game of the season. Zunino is undergoing a swing reconstruction. He’ll work with coaches in Arizona . . . LHP James Paxton could be on target to return to the rotation Sunday . . . Texas pulled to within a game of first place in the AL West for the first time since April 18.
LHP Vidal Nuno (0-2, 3.72 ERA) returns to the rotation after making two appearances out of the Seattle bullpen. He’ll start Wednesday’s game in part because of the struggles of LHPs Mike Montgomery and Edgar Olmos. Texas will counter with LHP Martin Perez (2-4, 5.07 ERA).