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'We have to adjust': Mariners falter in SF

@gregjohnsmlb
September 17, 2020

The Giants were welcoming hosts for the vagabond Mariners this week, but don’t blame manager Scott Servais and his crew if they aren’t in a hurry to return to the Bay Area after a 6-4 defeat on Thursday. With poor air quality in Seattle from the West Coast wildfires, the

The Giants were welcoming hosts for the vagabond Mariners this week, but don’t blame manager Scott Servais and his crew if they aren’t in a hurry to return to the Bay Area after a 6-4 defeat on Thursday.

With poor air quality in Seattle from the West Coast wildfires, the Mariners moved their two-game series to San Francisco and wound up getting swept again just a week after losing another two-game set at Oracle Park. Seattle was outscored 31-13 in the four games.

Box score

The latest losses drop the Mariners to 22-28 with 10 games remaining, and the unexpected road trip will now continue as Seattle has moved this weekend’s three-game series with the Padres to San Diego. The Mariners are three games back of the Astros in pursuit of the second playoff spot in the American League West after Houston topped Texas, 2-1.

The team learned about 90 minutes before Thursday’s game that its two-day surprise trek would be extended due to lingering smoke in Seattle -- just the latest curveball in a most-unusual season.

“It’s certainly got its challenges, no question about it,” Servais said. “You think you’re coming over here to play a couple games. Again, it’s a crazy season, all the things that have been thrown at our team and a lot of different teams.

“But these guys are pros, they understand what is ahead of them. We did play very well when we were in San Diego last time. Hopefully we continue there. We swung the bats well down there, and hopefully we can pick that up on the remainder of this trip.”

Mariners starter Nick Margevicius, who previously played for the Padres, acknowledged the situation isn’t ideal. But it’s something they understand.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s the world we live in in 2020,” said Margevicius. “Everyone would rather play at home. But at the same time, we have to adjust. Everyone was planning to play 162 games, too, and we don’t get that opportunity either. It’s a challenge, for sure, thinking you’re going to be home and you have to go on the road again. But, you know, we have to bring our best every single day and try to get some wins.”

The Mariners appeared in position to do that early on Thursday after scoring four runs in the second inning. The outburst began with third baseman Kyle Seager being hit in the hip by a pitch from Tyler Anderson, a moment that sparked some heated exchanges from the Mariners’ dugout in the wake of Dylan Moore getting beaned by a 99-mph fastball the night before.

The Mariners’ rally was capped by a two-run single by J.P. Crawford, following run-scoring singles by Tim Lopes and Phillip Ervin. But San Francisco regained the lead with three runs off reliever Kendall Graveman in the seventh as the Giants improved to 25-24 in their chase for a National League Wild Card berth.

Seattle got two runners aboard in each of the final three frames but couldn’t push anything across. In the ninth, the Mariners had two on and one out when Kyle Lewis hit a 104-mph line drive right at center fielder Mauricio Dubon.

Servais said it “just wasn’t our day,” and insisted that it had nothing to do with the unsettled situation regarding his team’s travel plans.

“We had a team meeting and everybody knew what was going on,” Servais said. “It didn’t play into the game at all. The game is the game. Guys lock in once the first pitch is thrown. We’ve got a job to do, and I thought our guys competed very well today.”

Margevicius acknowledged his own command on the mound wasn’t as sharp as usual, though he battled through five innings with just one run allowed before a pair of singles to begin the sixth wound up coming around to score after he was replaced. But he has discovered during this strange year that things change quickly.

Learning to adjust, he said, is the rule for 2020.

“There’s a lot of things in the season -- and things in the world that are going on right now -- that we just don’t have any control over,” said Margevicius. “All we can do is bring our best every day and get better and perform out there on the field. Every day we get to do it is a blessing. At least we’re playing. There are positive ways to look at it, and I think that’s the attitude we have to carry forward.”

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.