Mariners Game Recap: M’s Unravel Late in 5-0 Loss
The Mariners came home and fell apart late, losing to the Oakland Athletics 5-0.
If you doubted pitching as an art form, I hope your view has changed after watching tonight’s pitching duel, until the 7th at least. While both Taijaun Walker and the Oakland Athletic starter, Rich Hill started out shaky, the quickly feel into form. Walker allowed a lead-off single to Coco Crisp who then stole 2nd- he even threw a wild pitch- but then Walker would put his game into the next gear using his fastball as a staple, striking 3 of the next 6 during the first two inning without allowing another base-runner.
As for the aforementioned Hill, it would be the 2nd frame that almost ruined his night. Having already allowed an infield single in the first, he gave up 3 more singles (consecutively) to start the third. But it was that moment for the A’s starter where everything changed. He was able to get out of the bases loaded jam without surrendering a run. While Walker was using his fastball to befuddle batters, Hill used his signature rainbow like curveball to send the Mariners packing. Before the game batters only hit .100 against the curve and tonight’s display showed way.
From the 3rd to the 6th Walker continued his streak of 6 batters mowed down and brought that all the way up to 16 straight before giving up a broken bat single to the #9 batter, Jake Smolinski, who had enough muster on it to squeak it into the outfield. Nothing came of the weak hit in the 6th, but the flawless showing exposed a a chink in the Princes armor. In the other dugout, Hill was equally as good, allowing only 2 hits over the next 4 innings. In the 5th, Mariner announcer Dave Simms said to his announcing partner, Mike Blowers, “At some point don’t you just have to wail at [the curve], oh man.
Unfortunately for the Mariners things began to unravel in the 7th. Walker, in his brilliance, had not reached a 3-ball count until the 7th frame; it would cost him. The batter was the non-power-hitting Stephen Vogt, but that adjective seems unfitting in this at-bat as the ball went sailing about 15 rows deep down the left field side. If only this was the worst of the night for hottest team in baseball, our Seattle Mariners.
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The 8th inning of tonight’s ballgame will hopefully be the worst of any Mariner frame the rest of the season. It all started to go horribly wrong when the Chris Taylor– who was making his 2016 debut in place for the injured Ketel Marte– made a throwing-error sending the runner to second. Smolinski attacked Walker again with another single, this time cashing in for an RBI. Taylor’s day got even worse the next batter by committing his 2nd error of the inning- at this point in the game he had also gone 0-2 with 2 K’s. A hit-by-pitch later in the inning as well as a 2-RBI double by Danny Valencia capped off the meltdown. The score was now 5-0.
The Mariners tried to rally the next half of the 8th, Taylor attempted to make-up for his mistakes with a single to get the ball rolling. Franklin Gutierrez also tacked on a single a couple batters later, but to no avail. The Mariners had now left all 8 batters on base (all from hits). Their 8-hit total without scoring a run (they would finish with 9) came close enough to bring up conversations of the record of 13 hits without scoring; that has happened only 12 times since 1957.
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In the 9th it looked like their was a glimmer of hope for the home Mariners but the 3rd double play of the game following a Nelson Cruz single halted any ideas very quickly. Shortly after the game thankfully ended a terrible final third of the game. The first place Mariners are now 8-10 at Safeco Field, hopefully tomorrow when the excellent Nathan Karns (4-1, 3.33 ERA) can turn yet another disappointing home start around to match their winning road ways.