By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
ARLINGTON, Texas — There was no shortage of troublesome issues plaguing the Seattle Mariners as they completed a disappointing four-game series Thursday afternoon with a disappointing 8-6 loss to Texas.
As veteran reliever Joe Beimel observed: “It was kind of a crappy thing.” Specifically, he meant a leadoff walk he issued in the fifth inning that turned into the winning run, but he easily could have meant the game as a whole; the past three games, really — all losses after the Mariners opened the series Monday with a 7-1 victory.
On Tuesday, they rolled over against finesse lefty Robbie Ross. On Wednesday, they threw away a marvelous start from Felix Hernandez with a ninth-inning collapse.
Thursday, the Mariners fell into a quick 4-0 hole because of another poor performance by Erasmo Ramirez before stirring to life with a six-run third inning behind homers from Robinson Cano and Corey Hart.
Ramirez and Dominic Leone let that lead slip away in the bottom of the inning before the Rangers, fueled by that leadoff walk, nicked Beimel for two runs in the fifth.
That was it.
The Mariners’ offense disappeared over the final five innings — managing just two base-runners — and the result was a third straight loss, which dropped them below .500 for the first time this season at 7-8.
“This was a tough one,” M’s manager Lloyd McClendon said. “This series was a tough for us. … It was their day. You just chalk it up. It was their day. It was their series. We’ll see them again, and we’ll see what happens.”
That stiff-upper-lip approach didn’t hide McClendon’s growing concern at a third straight clunker from Ramirez, whose ERA soared to 7.50 after the right-hander yielded five runs in two-plus innings.
“I thought he showed signs of coming out of it,” McClendon said, “but he just reverted back to a lack of command. No quality pitches. When he did throw a strike, they were right in the middle of the plate.”
Ramirez fell victim to an old bugaboo: Throwing hittable pitches when he was ahead in the count. (Although maybe that’s progress. He often pitched behind in the count in his two previous starts.)
“My focus today was to be a little more aggressive,” he said. “I used more breaking balls to get ahead, and I did that. The problem was after being ahead 1-2 and 0-2, I didn’t execute the pitches. So they made me pay.”
The Rangers struck for three runs in the first when Ramirez hung a 2-2 slider to Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs and runners at first and second. Kouzmanoff yanked it to left for an RBI double.
Ramirez floated a hittable 2-2 change-up to Mitch Moreland that turned into a two-run single and a 3-0 lead. Texas extended its lead to 4-0 with two out in the second when Shin-Soo Choo sent a 404-drive to right.
The Mariners came all the way back, and more, by chasing Texas starter Tanner Scheppers in a six-run third inning. Cano’s three-run homer preceded a game-tying blast from Hart.
Scheppers issued a one-out walk to Nick Franklin, who went to third on Justin Smoak’s single. The Rangers called on ex-Mariner Hector Noesi, who served up a two-run double to Dustin Ackley before ending the inning.
The Mariners led 6-4. Both runs were charged to Scheppers, who coughed up six in 2⅓ innings.
Ramirez came back in the bottom of the inning but exited after yielding a leadoff double to Kouzmanoff. The Mariners called on Dominic Leone, who gave up a bloop double to Moreland before walking Donnie Murphy. After Leonys Martin sacrificed the runners to second and third, the Rangers pulled even at 6-6 on J.P. Arencibia’s grounder to short.
It was still tied when Beimel started the Texas fifth by walking Moreland.
“I hate walking lefties,” Beimel said. “It was just kind of a recipe for disaster in that situation.”
Murphy followed with a single before the runners advanced on another Martin sacrifice. Arencibia’s grounder to second delivered the go-ahead run before a wild pitch scored Murphy.
The Rangers led 8-6, which is how it ended. Beimel (0-1) got the loss, and Pedro Figueroa (2-1) got his second victory in less than 24 hours when Jason Frasor, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria protected the lead.
“It’s tough to score six, and get the hits we had, and not win,” Hart said. “We’re trying to fight through some adversity early, but we all believe we’re a good ballclub. There’s nothing to worry about.”