ANAHEIM, Calif. — And so it ended.
The Mariners closed out a disappointing season Sunday afternoon in a fitting manner with a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.
Much like the season, it wasn’t all bad. Just mostly bad.
Specifically, James Paxton provided an encouraging sign by pitching six scoreless innings, which sends him into the offseason reassured that his latest injury, a strained left pectoral muscle, is behind him.
“I felt I was back to 100-percent form,” he said. “It was good to get that feeling back before the end of the season. It was a good productive day for me to go out there and feel like I was on top of my game.”
That was about it, though, unless you count Mike Marjama’s first career home run, which came against Angels reliever Jose Alvarez in the eighth inning. That was a feel-good moment for a 28-year-old rookie from California.
“You dream about it your whole life,” he said. “It is definitely a cool feeling. And for me to do it here in California, with some friends and family here, was definitely a pretty cool experience.”
As for everything else …
The Angels broke open a scoreless game after Paxton departed, pummeling relievers Shae Simmons and James Pazos in a six-run seventh inning that included four hits, three walks and a potential double-play grounder that failed to produce an out.
It was as grim as it reads.
Eric Young Jr., who entered the game as a replacement for Mike Trout in the fourth inning, delivered the knockout blow with a three-run home run off Pazos.
It means the Mariners finished the season at 78-84 — eight games worse than last year — and in a third-place tie with Texas in the American League West Division, 23 games behind first-place Houston.
The Mariners also extended their MLB-worst postseason drought to 16 seasons.
The final game also, fittingly, produced one last head-shaking base-running snafu.
It came in the fourth inning after Ben Gamel reached safely on a leadoff grounder when the throw by shortstop Andrelton Simmons skipped past first baseman C.J. Cron.
Umpire Jerry Meals, the crew chief, ruled Gamel took two steps toward second base before returning to first. So when Cron applied a casual tag, Gamel was called out.
“He did not make an attempt toward second base in my opinion at all,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “But it’s a judgment call. You can not review that play.”
Paxton was dominant in lowering his ERA to 2.98. He gave up three hits, all singles, struck out out nine and walking none in an efficient 73-pitch performance.
“It’s exactly what we were hoping to see,” Servais said, “and what he wanted to feel walking off the mound at the end of the year. He was rhythm today with his delivery.
“It was an up-and-down with the injuries for him, but performance-wise, he really took the next step. I look forward to having him for a complete season next year, which is the goal.”
The Mariners wasted Paxton’s effort when their attack turtled against Angels starter Parker Bridwell, who outlasted Paxton and improved to 10-3 by yielding just three hits, all singles, in seven shutout innings.
Luis Valbuena ignited LA’s six-run seventh inning with a leadoff walk against Simmons and moved to second on Shane Robinson’s hard ground single into center.
Cron hit a potential double-play grounder to third, but Robinson beat the throw to second, and Cron beat the relay to first. Safe all around. That left the bases loaded with no outs.
Cliff Pennington then delivered a sacrifice fly to left for a 1-0 lead. The other runners moved up to second and third. Simmons (0-2) then reloaded the bases by walking Kaleb Cowart.
Juan Graterol’s sacrifice fly to right made it 2-0 and prompted a pitching change to Pazos, who surrendered an RBI single to Ben Revere before serving up Young’s homer. That quickly, the lead was 6-0.