SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners’ historic 20-game season-opening home run streak was extended for a few minutes in the third inning on Wednesday.
With one out and nobody on, third baseman Ryon Healy sat on a hanging slider and rocketed a liner toward the left-field corner. The ball thudded into the dark green padding beside the foul pole and was ruled a home run. Cue the fireworks. Cue the applause. Cue the triumphant trot. Cue Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us,” somehow branded a Seattle staple.
Cue the review.
Kill the streak.
Before Healy had even begun to round the bases, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco was motioning to his dugout, requesting a video review. It took all of 48 seconds for plate umpire Mike Muchlinski to throw on a headset and reverse the ruling.
Instead of setting off the scoring, Healy struck out looking two pitches later.
The Mariners managed just three hits and fell to the Cleveland Indians, 1-0.
That may be the new normal for the Mariners, who lost their sixth consecutive game and were swept for the second straight series following a 13-2 start. A week ago, Healy’s near-homer would likely have landed a couple more inches to the right. The Mariners’ first hit of the game would have come well before the bottom of the fourth inning.
And Erik Swanson certainly would not have been saddled with a tough-luck loss.
The 25-year-old Swanson — who replaced injured left-hander Wade LeBlanc in Seattle’s rotation — shined in his first career start, allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out five in six innings. Swanson didn’t walk a single Indian, and 50 of the rookie’s 81 pitches were strikes.
“It was a good step in the right direction for sure,” Swanson said.
The lone blemish was a loud blemish, as Indians first baseman Jake Bauers redirected a 91-mph fastball over the center-field fence in the fifth inning.
Not to be outdone, Seattle relievers Zac Rosscup, Brandon Brennan and Anthony Swarzak combined to allow only one hit while striking out six in three scoreless frames.
But Bauers’ blast was enough for Carrasco, who entered the game with a 1-2 record and a 12.60 ERA in three starts but struck out 12 in seven shutout innings on Wednesday. The Mariners struck out 14 times in all, and that’s a trend. In their six-game losing streak, the suddenly sputtering Seattle bats registered more than twice as many strikeouts (72) as hits (34). They’ll hit the road to take on the division-rival Los Angeles Angels on Thursday on the heels of an equally surprising and sobering 0-6 home stand.
“You’re not going to win many ball games when you strike out 13, 14 times. You’ve got to get the ball in play and allow some things to happen offensively,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve seen it really, really good and we’ve seen it poor here this homestand.”
On Wednesday, a homer streak (eventually) ended, and a losing streak survived.