Not much went right for the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. At least the postgame fireworks weren’t duds.
Otherwise, the Mariners continued to be plagued by errors in the field. And they could only watch as their former shortstop, who committed his fair share of errors while in a Mariners uniform, hit a grand slam.
Seattle infielders booted three ground balls in the first two innings, leading to five unearned runs, and Yuniesky Betancourt hit his second grand slam of the season, turning the game into a laugher as the Milwaukee Brewers prevailed, 10-5, at Safeco Field.
It’s tough to know what was the most frustrating for Mariners fans to watch.
The miscues in the field are a concern for Seattle. Over the past 10 games, the Mariners have committed 12 errors and could have been charged with a handful more.
“It’s been frustrating,” acting manager Robby Thompson said. “It’s been more frustrating as we continue on.”
The errors might be expected from shortstop Brad Miller and second baseman Nick Franklin because of the rookies’ inexperience. But on Friday, even Kyle Seager, who normally is sure-handed, was plagued by errors.
The miscues hurt starting pitcher Joe Saunders. He retired the first seven batters he faced. But with one out in the third inning, Franklin made a poor throw to first base after fielding Scooter Gennett’s ground ball. Seager then bobbled a grounder from slow-running catcher Martin Maldonado and threw the ball away, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position.
Saunders should have been out of the inning. Instead, he gave up a ground-rule double Norichika Aoki that gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
Seattle quickly tied the game at 2, but in the fourth inning, with one out and a runner on first, Seager couldn’t make the play on a ground ball by Betancourt that could have led to a double play.
“Kyle has had a tough stretch here,” Thompson said. “He just needs to remember how good he is down there and not fall into that trouble of feeling uncomfortable.”
That might have been hard for Seager to remember after he watched Jeff Bianchi single home a run before Maldonado dropped a two-run double into left. Suddenly, the Mariners were down 5-2 in a game that they would have led if not for the errors.
“Joe got the ground balls, and we didn’t make the plays behind him,” Thompson said.
Everything fell apart for Saunders in the fifth inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Jean Segura, who stole second base. Saunders got a ground out but then issued back-to-back walks to load the bases.
Betancourt unloaded them quickly, jumping on a 1-1 slider and hitting it over the left-field wall and into Edgar’s Cantina.
It was Betancourt’s 13th homer this season and his sixth grand slam of his career. It also was the second grand slam he’s hit against his former team.
“I think he was getting a little bit tired and walked a couple there in the inning they hit the grand slam,” Thompson said of Saunders. “But overall, I didn’t think he was that bad on the mound.”
Saunders’ night was done after the grand slam. He threw 4 innings and allowed nine runs, although only the four from the grand slam were earned.
“He’s our teammate, and he battled his butt off out there,” first baseman Justin Smoak said. “It was just one of those games.”
The Mariners didn’t do much offensively. Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse (8-7) allowed two runs in seven innings.
Seager had a two-run single in the third to tie the game at 2, Franklin hit an RBI single in the seventh, and Smoak continued his hot hitting with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.
It was Smoak’s 12th homer of the season and extended his hitting streak to nine games, during which he is hitting .394 (13-for-33).
“The guy was throwing hard and I was just trying to make contact,” Smoak email@example.com