NEW YORK -- The Mariners have prided themselves on a much-improved defense this season, which has helped keep them in the thick of the American League Wild Card race despite an injury-racked rotation. But that defense let them down in dramatic fashion in the first inning of Sunday's 10-1 loss
NEW YORK -- The Mariners have prided themselves on a much-improved defense this season, which has helped keep them in the thick of the American League Wild Card race despite an injury-racked rotation. But that defense let them down in dramatic fashion in the first inning of Sunday's 10-1 loss in the series finale at Yankee Stadium, as five errors led to five unearned runs.
Shortstop Jean Segura committed three of the five miscues himself -- including two on one play -- and third baseman Kyle Seager and left fielder Ben Gamel also booted balls in the ill-fated first as the Yankees scored six runs, just one earned, off southpaw starter Andrew Albers.
What was going through the Mariners' minds?
"Not good thoughts," Seager said. "A lot of derogatory words. It was a bad inning. We didn't play defense at all. We know we have to play good defense. Hitting comes and goes, but defense has to always be there. And we did a very, very bad job of that today."
"It was obviously the worst inning we've had all year," manager Scott Servais said. "Embarrassing."
The five errors were the most committed by the Mariners in one inning in franchise history. Seattle's franchise record for most errors in a game is seven, set on June 25, 1978, against the Brewers in a game the Mariners wound up winning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to commit five errors in an inning was the Cubs in 1977.
The five errors also tied the most errors by one team in an entire game this season in the Majors, by the Red Sox vs. the Orioles on Friday and the Brewers against the Yankees on July 7.
"We do have good defensive players," Servais said. "Certainly our outfield has been outstanding all year, and Kyle has had a good year at third base. The snowball just got rolling, and we couldn't stop it. You've got to step up and make plays. Everybody knows that. We screwed up today, and there's nothing we can do about it. We have to react in a good way and get after it now in Baltimore."
The trouble for Seattle began when Gamel misplayed an RBI single by Gary Sanchez, who took second as the ball got under the glove of the rookie left fielder.
"I thought it was going to pop up, but it stayed down on me, and I came up," Gamel said.
Didi Gregorius then popped a ball into shallow left that Segura called for, but he missed as Gamel and center fielder Guillermo Heredia both converged at the same time. That play was ruled an error on Segura and loaded the bases for the Yankees.
Segura said Heredia called him off and he was surprised that error was assessed to him, though he acknowledged, "It was a rough inning."
Albers appeared to have a chance to get out of the jam when Chase Headley hit a sharp grounder to Seager on a potential double-play ball. But Seager wasn't able to get the handle on the ball to make a throw, then he couldn't recover in time to get a force at third either as one run scored.
"I got caught kind of in between," Seager said. "My first thought was to go to second with it, then when I couldn't get it out of my glove cleanly, I figured I'd take a couple steps and touch third and then go to first. And I didn't do either one of them."
Finally, following a strikeout by Todd Frazier, things got even worse for Seattle when Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a bases-loaded double into the left-center gap. Segura dropped Gamel's throw in for his first error on the play, allowing Headley to score all the way from first, then threw wildly home for a second error, allowing Ellsbury to move to third.
"We don't want to make errors," Segura said. "I think everybody was ready to play, but it happened. It happened crazy today, but it happened."
And the man on the mound, 31-year-old Albers, took the brunt of it as he lost for the first time in three starts since being acquired from the Braves after pitching all year in Triple-A.
"That's not quite the way you want to make your debut at Yankee Stadium," Albers said. "I wish I could have made one more big pitch to get us out of it, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. With everything that happened, we were one pitch away from getting out of that one down and still right in the ballgame. Unfortunately, Ellsbury put a good swing on a slider I left up a little, and the floodgates opened."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.