ARLINGTON -- After missing all of Spring Training and most of the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle, Erasmo Ramirez missed with several pitches during a rough fourth-inning stretch Sunday, and that was enough for a 7-4 loss to the Rangers.Ramirez wasn't pleased with his outing,
ARLINGTON -- After missing all of Spring Training and most of the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle, Erasmo Ramirez missed with several pitches during a rough fourth-inning stretch Sunday, and that was enough for a 7-4 loss to the Rangers.
Ramirez wasn't pleased with his outing, perhaps because he had been so sharp in three Minor League rehab appearances, posting a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
"The only good point is just not being sore, not feeling the stuff that was in Spring Training," Ramirez said. "But now there's no more time for excuses. I got my games in the Minors and I was executing more pitches than what I did today."
During a 10-pitch span in that decisive inning, Ramirez threw eight balls and two strikes -- both hit for home runs. Three consecutive at-bats -- Nomar Mazara's solo shot, Adrian Beltre's walk and Joey Gallo's two-run homer -- led to Ramirez's downfall.
"That's what happens when you get behind in counts," Ramirez said.
Otherwise, Ramirez pitched capably, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters before Mazara's homer. Ramirez allowed a leadoff single in the second to Beltre, and the Rangers manufactured a run with two groundouts to score Beltre. Ramirez also gave up a run in the fifth inning before he exited, as Juan Centeno doubled and scored on Shin-Soo Choo's infield single.
Ramirez threw 4 2/3 innings, allowed five runs on five hits, walked one and struck out one.
"The stuff wasn't as sharp or as crisp," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He got through the fourth inning, that was a little bit fuzzy, his stuff started to back off a little bit. I ran him out in the fifth and thought it was a good time to go get [reliever James Pazos] at that point."
Pazos drew praise from Servais for his 2 2/3 scoreless innings, which not only spared an overworked bullpen but kept the score close until Nick Vincent allowed two runs in the eighth.
"We would not have been in the game except for [Pazos]," Servais said. "He kept it close, but unfortunately we couldn't keep it close enough to catch up there at the end. But a good series, we won the series, it would have been nice to get the sweep today. I thought we had certainly plenty of chances, we just didn't get a couple big hits."
The Mariners left 12 runners on base Sunday and had the tying run at the plate against Rangers closer Keone Kela before falling short.
Mitch Haniger was the only Mariner who seemed to thrive with men on base Sunday. He finished a torrid series in Arlington with a 3-for-5, three-RBI day punctuated by a two-run homer and two doubles. He was 7-for-12 with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs in the series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Segura's diving stop can't stop Choo: The Rangers' fifth run scored with two outs and a runner on third in the fifth, when Choo slapped a grounder in the hole to shortstop Jean Segura's right. Segura managed to get to the ball and make a fine diving stop on the edge of the grass, but he couldn't come up with it cleanly in time and Choo beat out the throw to first.
Juan Centeno came home on the play for what turned out to be the winning run.
Few hitters in baseball history have been as adept as Ichiro Suzuki at turning softly hit balls into singles. Case in point: the exit velocities on Ichiro's two infield singles were 46.3 and 80.6 miles per hour, per Statcast™.
By comparison, teammate Nelson Cruz currently leads the Majors with an average exit velocity of 98.8 mph.
Right-hander Mike Leake will make his fifth start of the season in the first game of a three-game series against the White Sox Monday night in Chicago. Leake allowed five earned runs on seven hits in his last start in Houston. He'll face struggling Sox righty Miguel Gonzalez, who is 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA and went just three innings against the A's last time out. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.