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Road woes continue for Mariners' offense

Servais says sluggers in middle of lineup are pressing
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

OAKLAND -- A Mariners team that figured to have one of the better offensive clubs in the American League this season has discovered a troubling trend.

The Mariners aren't hitting -- or winning -- on the road. And that has been bad news in the early going in 2017, as Seattle fell to 1-8 away from Safeco Field with Friday night's 3-1 loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

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OAKLAND -- A Mariners team that figured to have one of the better offensive clubs in the American League this season has discovered a troubling trend.

The Mariners aren't hitting -- or winning -- on the road. And that has been bad news in the early going in 2017, as Seattle fell to 1-8 away from Safeco Field with Friday night's 3-1 loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

View Full Game Coverage

"Offensively we're just not clicking," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "You've got to hit to win on the road and we haven't. That's why we haven't won. We have to pick it up there."

After a 6-3 homestand during which their bats heated up, the Mariners have dropped their first two games in Oakland as the embark on a three-city, 10-game trek that takes them to the end of April.

While Safeco Field is generally a tough place to hit, particularly in the early spring chill, the Mariners batted .268 and averaged 5.2 runs a game, while seemingly turning things back around at home.

But away from the friendly confines? Even after playing four games at offensive-minded Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Mariners are batting .186 -- the worst mark in the Majors -- in nine road games, while averaging 3.2 runs.

The Mariners got a pair of singles Friday from Guillermo Heredia, who subbed in for the slumping Leonys Martin, and continued producing well in his limited opportunities against lefty starters. And rookie Mitch Haniger stayed hot with an RBI triple to drive in Seattle's lone run.

Video: SEA@OAK: Haniger laces an RBI triple down the line

But the Mariners again didn't get much from their big boys in the middle. Nelson Cruz reached base three times on a single and two walks, and even stole a base in the sixth, but he's batted just .129 (4-for-31) with 12 strikeouts in the nine road games.

Kyle Seager dropped a bunt single down in the second inning to beat the shift and also walked in the sixth, but he's batting .133 (4-for-30) with nine strikeouts away from Safeco.

Robinson Cano went 0-for-4 on Friday to put him at .216 on the road, and even Haniger, for all his success, is batting just .194 -- albeit with three homers -- on the road.

It's all added up to trouble for a team that was second in the AL in scoring on the road a year ago.

"It's been a struggle," Servais said of his middle-of-the-order hitters. "It's a good sign Nelly is trying to get his pitch and, not getting it, he's laying off some pitches and taking his walks. But Robbie and Nelly and Seags, the guys around them are going to have their nights to chip in, but those are our big three and they know it.

"They're pressing a little bit. We've got a long trip ahead of us. We've got to have better at-bats and get some results, and the only way to do that is keep grinding through it."

And for Cruz, that means just looking ahead.

"Coincidence," he said of Seattle's early-season road difficulties. "We had a chance to score a few runs and we just didn't do it. Tomorrow is another day."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager