TORONTO – They were both losses in which the Mariners gave up 10 runs, starter Joe Saunders looked dismal, and winning was unlikely from the fourth inning on. But the mood after each couldn’t have been more different.
On April 24, the Mariners slogged their way through a 10-3 loss to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Saunders was roughed up for eight runs on 11 hits in five innings. It was the culmination of an awful trip to Texas that saw the Mariners go 1-6 against the Rangers and Astros. The Mariners were 8-15. Seattle manager Eric Wedge had sat through enough of it and told his team so in a closed-door meeting.
Fast forward to Sunday - the Mariners looked sluggish again, losing, 10-2 to the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
Saunders gave up seven runs on nine hits in five innings and the Mariners managed three hits off former teammate Brandon Morrow.
But there was no postgame meeting, frustration or anger.
The Mariners had still taken 2 of 3 games in the series – their third series win in a row. They’ve also won seven for the past 10 games.
“We feel good about ourselves,” third baseman Kyle Seager said. “Obviously, today was a tough one. But winning two before then is a good thing. We have a lot of confidence, and we are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Even Saunders found positives after the outing.
“Our confidence level is high,” he said. “You aren’t going to win every game and you are going to have games like this. But it’s how we bounce back. And I think we’ve shown we can do that.”
The Mariners are off Monday before facing the Pittsburgh Pirates for two games at PNC Park. They will have another off day Thursday and then open a three-game series at home against the Oakland A’s.
No matter how many baseball games you watch, you can find things that you’ve never seen before.
On Sunday, there were a few.
Jesus Montero reached first on an infield single. The lumbering catcher, who has the kind of speed only a tortoise would love, was credited with the feat in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second and no outs, Montero hit a rocket ground ball to third. Blue Jays third baseman Mark DeRosa made a diving stop and got up to fire to second to get the force out. Dustin Ackley beat the throw. Montero was still rumbling to first base at the time, but the official scorer generously gave Montero the infield hit.
Yet that wasn’t even the oddest play. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who would likely be the slowest player on any team in baseball that didn’t have Montero, managed to notch an infield double.
In the eighth inning, Morales hit a towering infield pop-up. The ball was directly above the pitcher’s mound. Morrow got out of the way. DeRosa and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion converged. Encarnacion called off DeRosa, but he tripped on mound and fell face first into the dirt. The ball came down and bounced high in the air.
Morales kept running and he made it safely to second for a double that traveled all of 65 feet.
The Mariners travel to Pittsburgh but have Monday off. They open up a two-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday.