Missed chances multiply as magic runs out

Mariners squander 5-1 lead in loss to Angels

May 14th, 2016

SEATTLE -- A Mariners team that had won seven straight one-run decisions, many in dramatic fashion, ran out of magic on Friday as missed opportunities added up to a 7-6 loss to the Angels.

A Mariners bullpen that had been lights out all season squandered a 5-1 lead and Steve Cishek suffered his second blown save when the Angels scored twice in the ninth to cap the comeback and snap their seven-game skid at Seattle's expense.

The Mariners were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, stranding 12 runners and coming up short even on a night when Ketel Marte laced a bases-loaded triple and Nelson Cruz and Chris Iannetta supplied home runs.

The biggest -- and oddest -- lost opportunity came when veteran left fielder Norichika Aoki, running from first, missed second base on Robinson Cano's ringing double off the base of the wall in center in the eighth inning. Aoki had to double back and touch second, thus was able only to get to third as Cano coasted into second.

The ball stuck in the padding at the base of the wall and Aoki acknowledged he would have scored easily if not for his baserunning blunder. He said he was looking at the ball and not the bag as he rounded the base.

"I just missed the bag," Aoki said through an interpreter.

"You don't often see that either," said manager Scott Servais. "It was kind of a strange game tonight. There was a lot of stuff that happened that we haven't seen happen to us early in the season here."

The Mariners had done a lot of little things right in winning 19 of their previous 26 games, seemingly coming up with all the big plays at the big moments. And Marte's triple seemed another case in point until the bullpen allowed two of starter Nathan Karns' inherited runners to score in the seventh, Joel Peralta gave up two more in the eighth and Cishek got nicked for the decisive two on Cron's bloop single with the bases loaded in the ninth.

"It's going to happen," Peralta said. "We're not going to be perfect the whole year. I think the bullpen's been great. I didn't have my best stuff. I was falling behind in the count on almost every hitter and a couple guys got me. I'll try to be better tomorrow. That's all you can do. You have to have a short memory in this game."

Mike Trout also blooped an RBI double into shallow right in the seventh off Nick Vincent to close the gap to 5-3 on another play that could have gone either way. Right fielder Seth Smith, playing deep against Trout, couldn't quite make a diving catch as he and second baseman Cano converged on the two-out looper.

"We were playing no doubles and coming from that far, it's hard to communicate," Smith said. "He heard me call it at the last minute, but I still saw him. So I tried to catch it and preserve both of us as best I could."

On this night, close didn't quite cut it for a Mariners squad that still leads the AL West by 1 1/2 games.

"You want to win all of them and certainly when you have leads, you want to finish those off," Smith said. "But it's big league baseball. You don't win 'em all."