It seems visiting teams aren’t reading the memo about not being able to hit at Safeco Field.
The San Francisco Giants showed up Friday, pounded out 11 hits – including two home runs – then shut out Seattle for seven innings before winning, 4-2.
For those who thought rock bottom was reached when Seattle was swept at home by the San Diego Padres, think again.
The Mainers have now lost six consecutive games – and gone 10-19 at the ballpark built for them.
“We’ve got to do more with our opportunities,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We need our veterans to do more. We need Ichiro (Suzuki) to do more – we can’t always put it on the kids.”
An 0-for-4 night left Ichiro batting .259 – and he had two of the more important at-bats of the game.
Want gnaw-on-your-knuckles frustration, try the Seattle eighth inning.
Dustin Ackley legged out an infield single. Miguel Olivo singled, his second hit of the night. Pinch-hitter Casper Wells, batting for Brendan Ryan, singled to load the bases with no one out – and the top of the Mariners’ order due up.
Another offensive outburst? Not quite.
Ichiro hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring one run.
Franklin Gutierrez grounded out, scoring a second run.
Kyle Seager grounded out.
That was, in a nutshell, the Mariners’ offense at home this season. With five hits Friday, they managed to remain a .198-hitting team at Safeco Field.
The opposition isn’t nearly as handicapped.
“I gave up 10 hits, but the two homers, that’s what has been killing me,” Mariners starter Jason Vargas said. “My last eight starts, the home run has killed me.”
Buster Posey homered into the second deck in left field in the second inning, and a fourth-inning sacrifice fly got the Giants a second run and 2-0 lead against Vargas.
With help from three double-play ground balls, Vargas kept Seattle within range for seven innings.
In the eighth, the Giants got to him, with Melky Cabrera hitting a two-run home run just beyond the left-center field wall and a leaping Gutierrez.
“I threw the pitch where I wanted it, and that’s what happened,” Vargas said. “Franklin got there about the same time as the ball did, and was probably one step too late.
“You can’t fault him – he didn’t waste any steps getting there. You just always know he has a chance.”
When the Mariners were not hitting, they were fouling up the opportunities they did have.
Jesus Montero doubled to open the second inning, then got a great jump when Michael Saunders lined out to center field – which meant he was easily doubled off base.
“That cannot happen,” Wedge said. “That’s twice this week and we’ve told him it can’t happen.”
Montero admitted to being overeager.
“I’m not fast. I wanted to score to tie the game and I thought the ball would get down,” he said. “I was trying to score.”
Olivo doubled and Ryan walked with one out in the third inning to bring up Ichiro.
One of the few veteran hitters on the team with a history of success, Ichiro popped up weakly on the first pitch thrown to him – doing precisely what the Mariners have preached against all season.
Don’t try to hit the pitcher’s pitch. Pick a pitch you can hit well and hammer it.
Maybe Ichiro didn’t get the memo.
“Not taking advantage of our opportunities, that’s been the story lately,” Wedge said.
When Giants starter and winner Ryan Vogelsong lost the strike zone in the fourth inning, he walked the first two Mariners he saw. Bunt the runners over?
Wedge let his hottest hitter – Saunders – swing away, and for the second time Saunders lined out to the outfield. Justin Smoak followed with a double-play ground ball and another threat vaporized.
As has the last week.
When the Mariners no-hit the Dodgers in the first game of the homestand, their record had climbed to 27-33, their enthusiasm seemed unstoppable.
They haven’t won since.
The Dodgers beat them twice to take that series. The San Diego Padres swept them with three consecutive victories, one of them a 1-0 win. And Friday, the Giants knocked them off.
“If we score one, two runs early, it changes the momentum of the game, and we did that on the last trip,” Wedge said.
Over the first seven innings, the Mariners managed two hits. In the eighth, when they had three, the top of their lineup failed to do the damage needed.
Obviously, the Mariners had read the firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLarue