SEATTLE -- For the second game in a row, the Mariners' bats were not able to support a starter.Seattle got its only run of the game on a Jean Segura homer in the fifth inning. The blast evened the score at one apiece, but would not be enough to back James
SEATTLE -- For the second game in a row, the Mariners' bats were not able to support a starter.
Seattle got its only run of the game on a Jean Segura homer in the fifth inning. The blast evened the score at one apiece, but would not be enough to back James Paxton in a 5-1 loss on Saturday afternoon against the Rockies at Safeco Field.
Paxton held the Rockies to one run and struck out eight through his first six innings -- including getting out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam with consecutive strikeouts of Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado in the third -- adding after the game that he felt good and had good stuff.
Then, with two runners on in the seventh, he faced the Rockies' No. 9 hitter.
Right fielder Noel Cuevas had just bunted a Paxton cutter foul before getting a look at another one, which he drilled into the left-field seats to put the Rockies up by three.
"It was a pitch in the middle and he didn't miss it," Paxton said. "Just a bad pitch and it cost us the game. Unfortunate."
Paxton said he was trying to go with back-foot cutters and high fastballs to try to induce a groundout or infield popup, but the cutter he ended up throwing was a mistake pitch.
"He did his job," Paxton said. "He's supposed to hit that pitch and he did."
The Mariners' lineup has not been at full strength due to a string of recent injuries.
Mitch Haniger returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing two games with a bruised right knee. The right fielder reached base in all four of his plate appearances Saturday on two singles and two walks, though manager Scott Servais said after the game that Haniger was still not running at 100 percent.
Everyday second baseman Dee Gordon was held to pinch-hitting duties after tweaking his hip on a play at the plate Friday night, and starting catcher Mike Zunino has been sidelined since landing on the DL on Thursday with a bruised left ankle. Their replacements -- Andrew Romine and David Freitas -- went a combined 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.
"We're a little banged up right now," Servais said. "It happens. It's part of what you go through in a long season like this."
Segura was thrust into the leadoff spot Saturday due to Gordon's absence. Segura, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, is batting .455 (25-for-55) with a .618 slugging percentage when penciled in at top of the order this year.
After Saturday's two-hit performance, Segura now has an American League-leading 37 multi-hit games in 2018 and is tied with Nick Markakis for the Major League lead.
The Mariners will send Wade LeBlanc to the mound in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT game to close out their nine-game homestand. Last time out, LeBlanc held the Angels to one run over seven innings, improving his record to 4-0 and bringing his ERA down to 3.19. He'll face Rockies righty Antonio Senzatela (3-1, 4.44 ERA), who tossed seven scoreless innings against the Giants at Coors Field on Tuesday.
David Gottlieb is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.