The Seattle Mariners survived a sloppy defensive effort Monday night in holding on to beat the Atlanta Braves. But not Tuesday. Two costly errors helped turn a close game into a 4-0 loss at SunTrust Park.
Third baseman Kyle Seager dropped a throw with two outs in the sixth inning when the Mariners had Ozzie Albies trapped in a rundown between third and home.
“We just didn’t finish the play,” manager Scott Servais said. “We dropped the ball. It’s a big-league game. We dropped the ball. You’ve got to finish the play. We didn’t do it there.”
And center fielder Mitch Haniger dropped a routine fly by Brandon Phillips to start the seventh inning. Phillips kept running and turned the botch into a two-base error, and he scored later in the inning.
It wasn’t just bad defense.
Lefty Marco Gonzales (0-1) failed to last five innings for a fourth straight time since his Aug. 5 promotion from Triple-A Tacoma.
And the Mariners’ attack, for the second time in three games, made a struggling former first-round pick, look like, well, a first-round pick. This time it was Braves right-hander Lucas Sims, the 21st overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Sims (2-3) yielded just three hits over six innings before Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman and Arodys Vizcaino completed the shutout. On Sunday, Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell pitched seven innings in a 3-0 victory.
The loss dropped the Mariners to 64-63 and left them two games behind Minnesota in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
While the Mariners’ attack mustered little, their continued defensive lapses stood out. They overcame four errors Monday in a 6-5 victory over the Braves in the series opener.
“We just haven’t played clean baseball,” Servais said. “We can’t make those mistakes on the road and expect to win games. We got through it (Monday) night. It was ugly. But tonight it caught us.”
Haniger started in center field because the Mariners, with the designated hitter unavailable in games in National League parks, chose to play Nelson Cruz in right field. Cruz went hitless in four at-bats.