Herald news Services
SEATTLE — The game was basically over before the Mariners came to bat Sunday afternoon.
And one could make the argument that it was probably over before the first pitch was thrown by lefty Roenis Elias in the series finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the decision to give starter Marco Gonzales a few extra days of rest, the Mariners opted for a bullpen outing with Elias, who had been on the disabled list with a triceps issues, as the starter.
Across the way, the Dodgers were starting some guy named Clayton Kershaw. His résumé includes three National League Cy Young awards, seven All-Star Game appearances and the distinction of being one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Sure, Kerashaw has been dealing with injuries this season and has been hittable at times.
But when Elias spotted the Dodgers a five-run lead in the top of the first inning, the question wasn’t whether Los Angeles would win, it was how much it would win by.
The answer: 12-1
The Mariners were outscored in the series 27-6 and their lone win came on a balked-in run in extra innings Saturday.
“To lose it in that situation is tough,” Kershaw said. “And to come right back on a day game, there could be a little hangover effect. Our guys, coming out in the first inning like that is a big testament to them. That was awesome today.”
Asked to pitch three to four innings and keep the Mariners in the game, Elias did one of those things, pitching three innings on a whopping 84 pitches. But the first inning was a disaster that allowed no room for recovery given who was on the mound for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers loaded the bases on a single from Brian Dozier, a walk to Justin Turner and another single by Manny Machado.
Elias got Matt Kemp to ground into a force-out at home. Cody Bellinger sent a single into right field that scored the game’s first two runs. Enrique Hernandez followed with an RBI single that made it 3-0. With two outs, Yasiel Puig hit a broken-bat single into right field to score two more runs.
Elias faced 10 batters in that first inning, giving up five hits and walking two batters and left the Mariners down 5-0 before Kershaw had thrown a pitch.
Elias’ reward for the uneven start will likely be an option back to Class AAA Tacoma so the Mariners can get a fresh arm for the bullpen.
“Elias usually goes out there and competes and lets it fly and takes his chances. We didn’t see today that in the first inning,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You get behind early like that to a really good club it can get ugly.”
While Kershaw has dealt with some injuries, decreased velocity at times and less-than-typical command, he still came into the game with a 2.47 ERA in 18 starts. Over his previous five outings, he’d allowed just a 1.87 ERA in 33 2/3 innings. A five-run cushion just made it that much easier to attack Seattle hitters without impunity.
The big lefty pitched seven complete innings, allowing one run, four hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Over his past six starts, Kershaw has posted a 1.77 ERA. He used his nasty, biting curveball and painted fastball on the corners to carve up Seattle hitters. Ryon Healy had two of the hits off Kershaw, including an RBI single the fourth inning that scored Kyle Seager, accounting for the Mariners run.
Right-hander Chasen Bradford, who was called up from Tacoma earlier in the day, could be headed back after throwing three innings of relief for Elias, allowing two runs on three hits. Rookie Matt Festa, working in his second big-league game, picked up two innings, allowing one run on three hits.
For the second time in the series, utility infielder Andrew Romine pitched an inning of relief work. It didn’t go as well as his scoreless frame on Friday night. Justin Turner smashed a three-run homer to left field.
“It was an outstanding job by the entire offense today,” Turner said. “I feel like up and down the lineup guys are all feeling pretty good. “
Mariners LHP James Paxton, on the 10-day DL with a left arm contusion, played catch for the first time since getting hit by a line drive on Tuesday. “I felt good. No problems,” said Paxton, who threw from about 70 feet during the session. … C Chris Hermann left the game in the third inning with a right knee contusion after being hit by a foul ball.