Mariners Game Recap: James Paxton’s Gem Lost in M’s 4-3 Walk-Off Loss

Jul 7, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

4. 7. Final. 3. 62

The Mariners night was ruined by Salvador Perez and the Kansas City Royals who scored all four of their runs in the 8th and 9th innings, including two-RBI walk-off double from Perez to win the game.

James Paxton was in complete control tonight through the majority of his start, but would have nothing to show for it by games end. In the first the Mariners wouldn’t produce a run, but Robinson Cano would continue his hot streak, singling in his first plate appearance. In the bottom of the inning Paxton would begin his night by allowing a walk, but would be saved by an inning-ending double play- this would be a theme.

The next frame, Dae-Ho Lee would record his fourth double of the year. He would be later be brought home on Mariner call-up, Dan Robertson’s first hit (and his first RBI) before Kansas City Royal starter Danny Duffy would get out of the inning. Paxton would continue his double-play streak to end the second following a lead-off single he gave up to Perez.

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In the third the M’s couldn’t muster a base-runner, but Kansas City did, two in fact with no outs. Thankfully there were more double-plays in store for Paxton, using his third of the night to escape the no-out jam. Another positive note was that Paxton was able to be very economical with his pitch count as the Royals swung frantically early in counts.

Through the middle innings, both Duffy and Paxton met minimal resistance, but there were a few notable moments in the fourth, fifth and sixth. It was in the top of the fourth that Kyle Seager was able to get around a pitch a single to right. The base-knock extended his hit-streak to ten games, only one shy of his season of eleven game streak from April 30th-May 10th. In the fifth, after Robertson collected a double off the wall- just mere feet from being his first home run- Ketel Marte would send him home via a sacrifice fly to extend to Mariner lead to 2-0. And in the sixth, aside from the fact the Paxton was in cruise control, having only surrendered four hits and one walk through six, his fourth double-play inducing pitch, let him remain unscathed, as far as the runs column goes. He also had only thrown an astonishing 46 pitches through the six innings of shutout work.

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Things were still looking good after Paxton threw a one, two, three seventh, and was even given some extra run-support, as Nelson Cruz blasted a towering shot to left field for his twenty-third home run on the season. But then in the bottom half of the frame, things would begin to unravel. A double-play wasn’t in the cards for Paxton this time with two runners on and two out. Paulo Orlando would finally make Paxton pay for allowing those runners on base, singling up the middle to bring home the two runners and cut the deficit to 3-2. Despite the blip, Paxton would get out of the inning without further damage, and on a positive note, it was only the second time all game he had allowed multiple base-runners.

Steve Chisek would come to the mound hoping to shut down the Royals in the ninth, and snap the Mariners nine-game road losing-streak, but for the American League leader in blown saves, it was more of the same. Allowing two lead-off runners, one from a double and the other due to a hit batter, Cishek would have to maneuver his way around a no-out jam. He managed to get one of the three needed but was foiled when the Royals hottest hitter on the night Perez smacked a deep double that would be far enough to bring home Whit Merrifield and the speedy Jarrod Dyson home from first for the walk-off victory.

Next: Cano, Cruz Homer their Way into Elite Group

Not only did the Mariners lose a game that was in the bag through the first seven, but it was poured salt in the wounds from last nights heartbreaking one-run loss to the Houston Astros. It was also the teams fourth overall lose in a row, and tenth in a row away from Safeco Field. The Mariners will hope to redeem themselves tomorrow, as Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound. A loss would assure back-to-back series losses heading into the All-Star break, and the Mariners would fall back below .500 on the campaign.