The Mariners delivered their highest-scoring game (Thursday) and highest-scoring inning (Saturday) of the season in the week that ended Sunday with a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers (box). Marring a 4-2 week that included series wins over the Angels and Rangers, the club lost two more pitchers to injury and made almost no dent in Houston’s lead in the AL West. How it all unfolded:
Tuesday (Angels 6, Mariners 4): Albert Pujols’ RBI double in the top of the 11th off reliever James Pazos scored Mike Trout with the go-ahead run. The Mariners dropped their third in a row and fell to 11-16.
Wednesday (Mariners 8, Angels 7): Jarrod Dyson’s two-out, two-run double in the eighth pulled Seattle even, Jean Segura followed with a two-run single to take the lead, and the Mariners snapped a three-game losing streak.
Thursday (Mariners 11, Angels 3): Ariel Miranda pitched seven effective innings and Danny Valencia homered and had four hits and three RBIs. The Mariners matched their season high in runs (11) and hits (16). Rookie Ben Gamel added three hits, two walks, scored three times and had two RBIs.
Friday (Rangers 3, Mariners 1): Rougned Odor hit a two-run homer off Emilio Pagan in the 13th inning. The game lasted five hours and was tied from the fourth inning despite numerous scoring opportunities for the Mariners, who went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Saturday (Mariners 8, Rangers 2): Valencia drove in two runs during s seven-run seventh. The Mariners went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position Friday and 0-for-6 Saturday before Valencia’s run-scoring hit.
Sunday (Mariners 4, Rangers 3): Kyle Seager hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth. Down 3-0 in the seventh, the Mariners drew four walks for one run and Valencia plated two more with a pinch-hit, handle-shot, bloop single. Marc Rzepczynski earned his first win of the season and Edwin Diaz worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
The only losses in the week came in extra innings. Seattle moved into third place in the AL West, but started the week seven games out in the division race and ended it six out.
At 15-17 the Mariners are back of last year’s pace at 19-13. The Mariners have never reached the postseason when they had a losing record after 32 games.
Three of the five planned starters are on the disabled list, including ace James Paxton, shelved Friday with a forearm strain. Five relievers are also on the DL after Evan Marshall had a hamstring injury in the 11th inning Friday. Felix Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) isn’t due back for at least two weeks and Drew Smyly (left arm flexor strain) isn’t eligible to return until June.
The inevitable happened Friday when the Mariners sent C Mike Zunino to Tacoma to fix what seems unfixable – his swing. “Hopefully he’s not down there long because we certainly need him and still believe in him,” manager Scott Servais told reporters. “But where he’s at in his career right now, it has to be more consistent. He’s got to put the ball in play. We need to get him down to Tacoma and get him right.” Zunino departed Safeco Field with a slash line of .167/.250/.236. Mario Mendoza’s career line was .215/.245/.252.
Guillermo Heredia spent most of 2016 at AA Jackson. But with the Mariners starting in August, he hit .250 in 45 games, making his 2017 surge a surprise. Wednesday, the 26-year-old went 3-for-5 with two singles, an RBI double and robbed Andrelton Simmons of a three-run homer with catch described by Servais as “awesome” (see video below). Heredia, who went 6-for-17 (.353) with three walks and three RBIs during the week, has started every game since April 21. In all but one, he has reached base.
The Mariners lead the American League in inconsistency. Through 32 games, they have one four-game winning streak and four three-game losing streaks, and are 0-3 in extra innings. The Mariners are 4-1 in home series and 1-4 in road series. But . . . Seattle is 13-9 in its last 22 after opening the season 2-8.
Innings of the week
Angels 11th Tuesday: With the score 4-4, Pujols knocked a double down the right-field line. Gamel left his feet in an attempt to catch the ball, which he had little chance of getting, and it bounced off the wall, allowing Trout to score from first with the winning run.
Mariners 8th Wednesday: After watching a 4-0 advantage evaporate because of shaky relief pitching, the Mariners came through with four runs in the eighth, all with two outs.
Mariners 3rd Thursday: Gamel walked to open the frame and came around on two-out singles by Seager and Valencia. Heredia followed with a bloop, two-run double down the right field line as the Mariners rallied for a 4-3 lead en route to an 11-3 win.
Mariners 10th Friday: Seattle botched a chance to beat Texas in the 10th after Segura led off with a double. But Gamel failed to get down a sacrifice bunt and struck out on three pitches, after which Robinson Cano was intentionally walked. The inability to get the bunt down loomed after Nelson Cruz flew out to center for the second out that was deep enough to have scored Segura. Seager grounded to first to end the threat.
Mariners 7th Saturday: The Mariners sent 11 batters to the plate in their biggest inning of the season, collecting five hits, a walk and a hit by pitch en route to seven runs, most in an inning since nine in the second against the Angels Sept. 2.
Mariners 7th Sunday: After falling behind 3-0, the Mariners rallied for three, the big blow Valencia’s pinch single that plated Heredia and Dyson.
Good week/bad week
Good: Cruz went 9-for-27 (.333) with five RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 15 games before an 0-for-4 Sunday; Segura produced 13 hits from the leadoff spot, including five consecutive multi-hit games; Valencia had hits in six consecutive contests, including a career-high four Thursday. Bad: Hours after placing Paxton on the DL Friday, Seattle lost two pitchers to injury in the span of two batters in the 11th. Jean Machi left with two outs because of a nerve problem in his right thumb. Evan Marshall was then given time to get ready, but on his second pitch to Joey Gallo, he screamed and grabbed the back of his right leg as he dropped to the ground. Marshall went on the DL with a hamstring injury.
During Cruz’s 15-game hitting streak, he batted .439 (25×57) with 12 runs, five doubles, five home runs and 20 RBIs. It marked the Mariners’ longest single-season hitting streak since Cruz hit safely in 21 from, July 21-Aug. 11, 2015, and the longest by a Seattle DH since Edgar Martinez hit safely in 20 consecutive games from June 28-July 26, 2000.
Segura’s four RBIs Wednesday, which included a two-run homer, marked a career high.
When reliever Emilio Pagan, just summoned from AAA Tacoma, gave up three hits and three earned runs in his MLB debut Wednesday, his only recorded out was a leaping catch at the wall by Heredia that robbed Andrelton Simmons of a three-run homer.
In the win over the Angels Thursday, six Mariners — Valencia 4, Heredia 3, Gamel 3, Cruz 2, Seager 2, Segura 2 — had multi-hit games, marking the second time in 2017 that has happened (also April 26 at Detroit).
Friday’s 13-inning game droned on for 5:02, the longest contest of 2017. Previous: 4:40 May 2 vs. the Angels.
As part of the Mariners’ 40th anniversary celebration, the club brought in Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry to toss the first pitch Saturday. Perry played just two of his 22 seasons (1982-83) with Seattle, going 13-22. But he won his 300th game in the Kingdome May 6, 1982, a 7-3 complete game against the New York Yankees. Perry, 78, tossed an underarm strike to the plate.
Hisashi Iwakuma has made six starts and still doesn’t have a win. This is the longest Iwakuma has gone without one since he joined the Mariners in 2012.
Not in the box score
When Canó hit his 39th career home run as a Mariner at Safeco Field Wednesday, he broke a tie with Jose Lopez (38) to move into ninth place on the list of home runs by a Seattle player at Safeco (record is 78 by Raul Ibanez).
When Cruz extended his hitting streak to 12 games Wednesday with a season-high three hits, the Mariners became the first MLB team in 2017 to have two players with hitting streaks of at least 12 games. Mitch Haniger had a 13-game streak from April 6-19.
Before he went on the disabled list Friday, Paxton was the only major league pitcher to have thrown 35 or more homer-less innings (37.1). Mike Leake of the St. Louis Cardinals was second with 33.1.
During his 15-game hitting streak, Cruz had 20 RBIs. Only two other Mariners drove in 20 runs over a 15-game span while hitting safely in each. Alex Rodriguez (20) did it in 1996 and Ken Griffey Jr. (21) did it in 1999.
The Mariners have 61 doubles, No. 1 in the AL. Last year, Seattle ranked 14th. The Mariners have not finished in the top 10 in doubles since 2009 (10th) and haven’t led the league since 1996.
“We fought back. It’s tough to come back and win these games. But we put some good at-bats together. We’re going to get better.” – Segura after a rally that beat the Angels 8-7 Wednesday
“Awesome. What a play. To go back on that ball and jump and time it like he did over the wall, that was a huge play. The at-bats, the energy, the defense, how he goes about it — I’m really happy for him and happy we got him. He’s a big plus for us.” – Servais, after Heredia robbed Simmons
“Great job by Miranda, can’t say enough. He hung in there. To get through seven innings when the pitch count was up after the first two was really nice to see.” – Servais, after Miranda worked seven innings Thursday to improve to 3-2, 3.55
“It sucks to see teammates go down. But somebody has to do it and tonight it was me. The pitch to Odor just caught too much of the plate. He’s a dangerous hitter looking to put it in the seats whenever he can, and I made a mistake and he made me pay for it.” – Pagan, after surrendering a game-losing, two-run homer in the 13th inning to Rougned Odor
May 2: Selected RHPs Jean Machi and Emilio Pagan from AAA Tacoma, designated RHP Casey Fien for assignment, optioned 1B Dan Vogelbach to the Rainiers and transferred INF Shawn O’Malley to the 60-day DL (right shoulder tendinitis). May 3: Outrighted Fien to Tacoma. May 5: Recalled INF Mike Freeman, RHP Evan Marshall and C Tuffy Gosewisch from Tacoma, placed LHP James Paxton on the 10-day DL (left forearm strain), optioned C Mike Zunino and OF Boog Powell to Tacoma, May 6: Recalled RHPs Dan Altavilla and Rob Whalen from Tacoma, placed Marshall on the 10-day DL (strained right hamstring), optioned Pagan to the Rainiers. May 7: Selected RHP Christian Bergman from Tacoma, optioned Whalen to Tacoma, transferred Shae Simmons to the 60-day DL.
After a day off Monday, the Mariners begin a six-game road trip at Philadelphia (two) and Toronto (four) before returning Field May 15 to host Oakland for three to kick off a seven-game home stand. RHP Iwakuma (0-2, 4.35), who took a comebacker off his leg Monday, had his start pushed back to Thursday. Ariel Miranda (3-2) starts Tuesday opposite RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-3, 4.00).
Great doubles stat! Therein lies hope for the season. A double can get a guy home from first and if two are on might get both in. Big stat. 61 doubles in 32 games is huge. But they have to avoid the Dutch Boy Disease, holes you plug only to have another open. It may come down to guys having to play through minor injuries, whatever.