Baserunning miscues loom large for Mariners
SEATTLE -- The Mariners were shut out for the first time since July 4 in a 3-0 loss to Texas on Monday that snapped a season-high five-game win streak, but they had their chances to score.
In both the first and fifth innings, the Mariners were on the verge of striking first, but were held to zeroes with several outs on the basepaths. They were outs that cost Seattle a chance to build momentum and ultimately ones that cost them the game.
Texas starter Yovani Gallardo held the Mariners scoreless for 5 1/3 innings, but Seattle nearly got to him in the first as its first three hitters reached base. With a 2-1 count on Kyle Seager and nobody out, Seattle's Ketel Marte broke for second. A poor jump combined with an 89-mph pitch from Gallardo gave catcher Bobby Wilson enough time to nail Marte at second for the first out.
"No I don't think [I got a good jump]," Marte said. "I didn't see the sign from the catcher and then I don't know what pitch he threw. I think it was a fastball and then they threw me out. That's it."
Seager walked and advanced to second on a Mark Trumbo single, but also fell victim to a Wilson throw as he gained too big of a secondary lead with Robinson Cano at the plate. Wilson threw to second and Seager took off for third knowing he would be the third out of the inning.
"There's two outs, trying to get an aggressive secondary to score on a hit and I got a little too much and my momentum going the wrong way and he picked me off," Seager said. "Obviously, I messed up there on second, but you always have to try to be aggressive."
The Mariners are 45-19 when they score first this season, but they ran their way out of two chances to do so in the first inning.
"We didn't kind of run ourselves out of the first, we ran ourselves out of the first," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's something that has plagued us and something we talked about and worked on and it's very frustrating."
The frustration continued with another out on the basepaths with one out in the fifth, though it wasn't the fault of shortstop Brad Miller, who laced the Mariners' only extra-base hit of the game -- a triple to left-center -- earlier in the inning.
Running for home on a contact play, Miller was hung out to dry when a ground ball to short by John Hicks didn't get deep enough with the infield in. Miller stayed in a rundown long enough to allow Hicks to advance to second, but Seattle's biggest threat to score was eliminated with the second out of the inning.
The play was just one of several that kept the Mariners off the board, but in a game in which Texas' pitching staff, particularly Gallardo, was effective from start to finish, Seattle's over-aggressiveness proved costly.
"I think we're always trying to be aggressive on the basepaths," Seager said. "[Gallardo is] a good pitcher. He doesn't really miss over the plate and you don't really get too many pitches to drive or anything like that. You have to string a lot together and that's obviously hard to do."