CHICAGO -- Sometimes the routine becomes difficult, and that’s precisely what happened to Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham in the first inning on Friday. Beckham booted a couple of seemingly easy grounders and committed three errors to put his team in an early hole.
The Mariners rallied to take a brief lead, but couldn’t overcome all of their miscues in a 10-8 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“It’s frustrating for me,” Beckham said. “I played terrible defense today. They shouldn’t have scored those three in the first. That’s on me, man. It won’t happen again.
“We’ll keep playing good baseball.”
The first inning was anything but good baseball, though.
Chicago leadoff hitter Leury Garcia started things with a routine grounder that Beckham booted. After Tim Anderson singled, slugger Jose Abreu hit a tailor-made double-play grounder to short, but again Beckham booted it. He then made things worse by picking up the ball and throwing wildly to first base. Jay Bruce ranged far off the bag to catch it before dropping it, allowing Garcia to score from third.
Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi then walked Welington Castillo to load the bases and Yoan Moncada followed with a deep drive to center field. Mallex Smith raced back and leapt, reaching over the wall to bring back what would have been a grand slam. But the impact with the wall jarred the ball loose and it fell in for a two-run double to make it 3-0.
Only seven Major League players in the past 10 years have committed three errors in an inning. Oddly, the last three have been Mariners: Beckham, third baseman Dylan Moore against the Red Sox in the ninth inning last Saturday and shortstop Jean Segura on Aug. 27, 2017, against the Yankees.
“We’ve got a lot of gamers on the team,” Beckham said. “Even though we lost that game, we showed a lot of fight. That shows a lot about our team.”
That's when the wheels fell off again.
Reliever Cory Gearrin walked Garcia and Anderson on eight straight balls and then fell behind 2-0 to Abreu. With the count 2-2, Abreu hit a grounder to shortstop. Beckham fielded the ball cleanly, but Anderson beat the throw to second with a head-first slide and the relay throw to first was also late. Instead of a double play, the bases were loaded with none out.
Gearrin then hit the next batter, Castillo, to force in a run. Lefty Zac Rosscup replaced Gearrin and Moncada greeted him with a two-run single on a 3-2 pitch -- the first hit of the inning -- to give Chicago a 9-8 lead.
“Really, the soft grounder to short that we didn’t get an out on was a key play in the inning,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Abreu’s grounder. “Even if we’re able to get one out ... but it didn’t happen.”
The veteran Gearrin had no explanation for his sudden wildness. He’s walked five and hit a batter in his past two outings.
“There’s really no excuse for it,” Gearrin said. “As a reliever, you have to go in there and pound the zone. That’s always been a strength of mine.”
With a 7-2 record, the Mariners have shown an ability to rally from adversity, but there was too much to overcome this time.
“We had a lot of good at-bats, some big homers today, but controlling the strike zone at the end got us,” Servais said. “The walks really hurt.”