Mariners miss chance to halt road skid

July 8th, 2016

KANSAS CITY -- As Mariners manager Scott Servais prepared to answer questions from the media ahead of Thursday's series opener against the Royals in Kauffman Stadium, which the Royals won, 4-3, he made an observation about his road office, located in the visitors' clubhouse.
"Blue," he said. "Very blue."
By the end of the day, it was more than just the office that was blue. The Mariners' road blues continued, as the Royals erased a three-run deficit in an inning and a half to hand Seattle its 10th straight road loss.
Entering the eighth inning, the Mariners were rolling. Left-hander James Paxton looked to be putting the finishing touches on an extremely efficient complete game, as he'd thrown just 57 pitches through seven innings.
With one out and two on, he had a chance to get out of the inning, as Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar hit a ground ball right back to the mound. If Paxton had turned and thrown to second, he likely would've triggered the team's fifth double play of the night.
Instead, he threw to first, opting for the safer play, and the Royals made him pay, scoring two runs in eighth before finishing the comeback off in the ninth.
"That one is going to eat at me for a little bit," Paxton said. "I felt myself going too quick. I felt like I was going to turn and throw too quick and throw it away."
Entering the series, there had been a few main reasons for the slump, which continued on Thursday as the Mariners fell to 2-15 in their last 17 road games. Servais mentioned how errors had plagued the team in its last few contests, not only because of unearned runs, but also because the pitchers were having to throw more pitches to get out of innings, which was starting to pile up. But coming into the series, that wasn't something that fazed the team
"Over the course of a long season, you're going to make a few mistakes," Mariners catcher Chris Iannetta said. "We're fine."
That attitude showed early on, as those errors looked to be in the past. The Mariners induced three double plays in the first three innings, complemented by a terrific sliding grab by shortstop Ketel Marte that got the team out of the third and saved a run.

Overall, the Mariners didn't commit any errors Thursday, at least statistically. There were plays that could've been made to change that result, such as the potential double play or the double from Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield that just slipped by third baseman Kyle Seager, but the overwhelming sense was what Servais said after the game.
"[Paxton's] pitch count was in great shape. He was going right through them," Servais said. "We should've won that ballgame."