Mariners’ offense remains feeble
The Mariners added Kendrys Morales to their lineup Friday night and — well, he drove in a run … the Mariners’ only run — but it wasn’t enough to prevent the waste of another magnificent effort from Felix Hernandez.
Chris Davis opened the 10th inning with a no-doubt homer against Charlie Furbush that lifted the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 victory over the fast-fading Mariners at Safeco Field.
“It was up in the zone,” Furbush said, “and he hit it out of the park. It was the pitch I wanted to throw. I just left it up.”
True enough, but the great problem was the Mariners’ ongoing lack of run production, which is reaching red-line distress levels. Friday’s loss marked the 15th time in their past 18 games that they scored fewer than four runs. That includes two runs or fewer in 12 of those games.
And, no coincidence, they have lost 12 of those 18 games.
“Keep grinding,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Come out (Saturday) and go back at it again. It’s just a tough stretch. It’ll pass. It’s not pretty right now.”
Thursday’s trade to reacquire Morales might/should help, but all signs suggest the Mariners need still more as general manager Jack Zduriencik and his staff work against the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
This latest loss had strange elements, too.
One rally fizzled when Brad Miller was hit by Endy Chavez’s ground single for a out. That came in the fifth, which ended on the sort of play that suggests the Mariners might be starting to push too hard.
Chavez tried to score from second on James Jones’ line single to left — a low-percentage gamble by third-base coach Rich Donnelly. Chavez was thrown out easily.
“We haven’t had a two-out ribbie in a while,” McClendon said. “It was the right thing to do. The guy (Steve Pearce) made a good throw.”
The game ended on an overturned call. Davis appeared to come off first base to catch a throw from Orioles closer Zach Britton on Robinson Cano’s two-out topper.
Davis did come off the base, but replays showed he didn’t do so until after he caught the ball. It was a fitting conclusion.
“Crazy things,” third baseman Kyle Seager said. “We got some guys on base. That was a weird play there with Miller. It’s just one of those weird things.
“A couple of breaks here or there, and it’s a completely different ballgame.”
Instead, it was disappointingly familiar.
Davis’ homer rewarded Darren O’Day (3-1) with a victory for getting the final two outs in the ninth inning when Britton worked a scoreless 10th for his 19th save.
Furbush (1-5) was the loser.
Hernandez gave up one run and five hits in seven innings while striking out 10, walking none and lowering his earned run average to 1.99. The only run came on a leadoff homer by Nelson Cruz in the second inning.
All Hernandez got was a no-decision, although he pulled alongside Tom Seaver as the only pitchers since 1900 to make 13 consecutive starts of at least seven innings while allowing fewer than three runs.
Seaver did it in 1971 with the New York Mets. And point to note: The American League wasn’t even around in 1900.
The Mariners had chances.
It was 1-1 when Mike Zunino squirted a one-out single through the left side in the seventh inning. Miller then walked for the third time, which turned over the lineup with runners at first and second.
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman struck out Chavez before manager Buck Showalter went to the bullpen for Brian Matusz to get a left-on-left matchup against James Jones.
The Mariners countered by sending up Stefen Romero. The Orioles won the exchange when Romero flied to left. That meant Gausman got a no-decision, too.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead when Cruz led off the second inning by lining a first-pitch homer over the left-field wall. It was low laser that got out in a hurry.
It stayed 1-0 until the sixth when the Mariners caught a break on Cano’s drive deep into the right-field corner that eluded Nick Markakis for a leadoff triple.
Morales followed with a drive to medium right that turned into a game-tying sacrifice fly.
Markakis made a strong throw, but Cano got his hand on the plate before Caleb Joseph applied the tag. That halted the Mariners’ scoreless streak at 15 innings. That was it, though.
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