OAKLAND – It took them 13 innings, but the Seattle Mariners got to the All-Star break Sunday with another loss – but their offense intact.
That was the bad news.
The good? Well, after the Oakland Athletics pushed across a run in the 13th inning to beat Seattle, 2-1, the Mariners talked about a team that has to look ahead, not behind.
“They’re trying, they’ll get better,” said Felix Hernandez, the staff ace who got another no-decision because his team simply couldn’t produce runs.
“We tried all day, but I’ve got to hand (it) to Bartolo (Colon), he pitched great.”
Colon went 82/3 innings on 93 pitches, at one point retiring 15 Mariners in a row. Hernandez went 72/3 innings, worked out of trouble early and then sailed along.
Can he pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday?
“That’s tough,” he said after throwing 114 pitches Sunday. “If they need me, I’ll pitch. If they don’t, that will be OK.”
As has been the case most of the season, pitching was superb for the Mariners – Hernandez got to the eighth inning and five Seattle relievers held serve into the 13th.
And, as has been the case most of the season, the Mariners couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity that pitching presented.
“Every one of us had the chance today and we didn’t get it done,” catcher Miguel Olivo said. “I had the chance in the ninth inning with two outs ...”
Olivo, with two out and runners on second and third base in the ninth, struck out swinging.
Designated hitter John Jaso, as optimistic a player as there is, was asked if the frustration of failing to score has begun to hamper Seattle’s young team.
“No one’s happy with what’s happened, but you have to learn from it,” Jaso said. “I mean, I’ve been hitting fastballs for the last three weeks and today I couldn’t catch up with one to save myself.
“I just went 0-for-6. Will I think about that? Probably, but I’ll try to remember the good things more. We all have to remember who we are, how we got here. We’re all good enough to play at this level.”
What of the changes manager Eric Wedge has said are coming?
“We all have our feet in wet cement,” Jaso said. “We’ve got to make that cement hold. We’ve got to do more.”
By losing two of three games here – one in 11 innings, another in 13 – and scoring only once in each, the Mariners helped Oakland reach .500 (43-43).
That meant in the four-team American League West, Seattle is the only team not at or above .500 – and their 36-51 record is the fifth-worst in baseball.
Hernandez is 6-5 and lowered his earned-run average to 3.13 Sunday, He wasn’t his sharpest, except when he had to be – like when the Athletics scored in the first inning, then put runners at second and third base with one out.
“I knew once they scored a run I couldn’t give up another one or I might lose the game in the first inning,” Felix said.
He struck out Seth Smith, got a pop up from Brandon Moss and held Oakland to that one run.
“Felix is as good at holding the other team down as anyone,” Wedge said. “He was great today. Our bullpen was great today. Our offense hurt, and it has to get better, be more consistent.
“This weekend we won one game playing well, lost two when we pitched well, played good defense but couldn’t put an inning together. That’s not good enough. That’s what needs to be addressed.”
Olivo, a veteran who has played for all kinds of teams, admitted he hasn’t played for one like this.
“One day we hit, the next day we don’t,” Olivo said. “I’m part of it, too – one day I’m hitting, the next day I don’t.
“We’re not doing the job. We have to do more.”
Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik will meet at least once and probably several times in the next four days, and Wedge said they’ve shared ideas almost daily.
“We have a vision and we’re going to stick to it,” he said. “That means we have to keep working.”
If they can’t break their offense loose, the Mariners face a second half as frustrating as the firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue