M’s close dismal series with loss

Erasmo Ramirez allows 5 runs in 2 innings; Mariners lose 3rd straight game to fall below .500

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.comApril 18, 2014 

ARLINGTON, Texas — There was no shortage of troublesome issues plaguing the Seattle Mariners as they completed a disappointing four-game series Thursday at Globe Life Park with an 8-6 loss to the Texas Rangers.

“It was kind of a crappy thing,” veteran reliever Joe Beimel said.

Specifically, he meant a leadoff walk he issued in the fifth inning that turned into the winning run.

But Beimel easily could have meant the game as a whole. The past three games, really — all losses after the Mariners opened the series Monday with a 7-1 victory.

Tuesday, they rolled over against the Rangers’ finesse left-hander, Robbie Ross. Wednesday, they threw away a marvelous start from Felix Hernandez with a ninth-inning collapse.

And on Thursday, the Mariners fell into a quick 4-0 hole because of another poor performance by Erasmo Ramirez, but they stirred to life with a six-run third inning behind home runs from Robinson Cano and Corey Hart.

Ramirez and Dominic Leone let that lead slip away in the bottom of the inning. Then in the fifth, the Rangers, fueled by that leadoff walk from Beimel, nicked

him for two runs.

That was it.

The Mariners’ attack turtled over the final five innings — managing just two base runners — and the result was a third consecutive loss, which dropped them below .500 for the first time this season at 7-8.

“This was a tough one,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “This series was tough for us. … It was their day. You just chalk it up. It was their day. It was their series. We’ll see them again, and we’ll see what happens.”

That stiff-upper-lip approach didn’t hide McClendon’s growing concern at a third consecutive clunker from Ramirez, whose earned-run average soared to 7.50 after yielding almost as many runs (five) as he did outs (six).

“I thought he showed signs of coming out of it,” McClendon said, “but he just reverted back to a lack of command. No quality pitches. When he did throw a strike, they were right in the middle of the plate.”

Ramirez fell victim to an old bugaboo: throwing hittable pitches ahead in the count. (Although maybe that’s progress; he often pitched behind in the count in his two previous starts.)

“My focus today was to be a little more aggressive,” he said. “I used more breaking balls to get ahead, and I did that. The problem was after being ahead 1-2 and 0-2, I didn’t execute the pitches. So they made me pay.”

The Rangers struck for three runs in the first. Ramirez hung a 2-2 slider to Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs and runners at first and second. Kouzmanoff yanked it to left for an RBI double.

Ramirez floated a hittable 2-2 change-up to Mitch Moreland that turned into a two-run single and a 3-0 lead. Texas extended its lead to 4-0 with two outs in the second when Shin-Soo Choo sent a 412-foot drive to right, his first homer with his new team.

The Mariners came all the way back, and more, by chasing Texas starter Tanner Scheppers in a six-run third inning. Cano’s three-run homer, his first of the season, preceded a tying blast from Hart.

Scheppers issued a one-out walk to Nick Franklin, who went to third on Justin Smoak’s single. The Rangers called on ex-Mariner Hector Noesi, who served up a two-run double to Dustin Ackley before ending the inning.

The Mariners led, 6-4. Both runs were charged to Scheppers, who coughed up six in 2 innings.

Ramirez came back in the bottom of the inning but exited after yielding a leadoff double to Kouzmanoff. The Mariners called on Leone, who gave up a bloop double to Moreland before walking Donnie Murphy.

Leonys Martin sacrificed the runners to second and third, and Texas tied the score at 6 on J.P. Arencibia’s grounder to short.

It was still tied when Beimel started the Texas fifth by walking Moreland.

“I hate walking lefties,” Beimel said. “It was just kind of a recipe for disaster in that situation.”

Murphy hit a single, and the runners advanced on another Martin sacrifice. Arencibia’s grounder to second delivered the go-ahead run before Murphy scored on a wild pitch – which was how Texas tied the score in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday before Martin’s winning hit.

Beimel (0-1) took the loss Thursday, while Pedro Figueroa (2-1) got his second victory in less than 24 hours.

“It’s tough to score six and get the hits we had, and not win,” Hart said. “We’re trying to fight through some adversity early, but we all believe we’re a good ballclub. There’s nothing to worry about.”

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners

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