An 8-1 loss Wednesday to the Minnesota Twins offered no shortage of unpleasant little factoids for the Mariners to chew on, including (as the score confirms) a deepening fast from their run-challenged attack.
That makes seven runs in 58 innings over their past six games if you’re (also) not scoring at home.
And this: Only three times in their past 43 games have the Mariners been beaten by more than four runs. That’s not bad, actually, until it’s noted all three have come in rookie Roenis Elias’ last three starts.
Elias (7-8) gave up seven runs while lasting just 3 1/3 innings — and this early exit came at the worst of times: The night before the Mariners plan to navigate a game solely with their bullpen.
The Twins nicked Elias for one run in the first on a two-out RBI double by Kendrys Morales and took command with a four-run second. Chris Colabello’s two-run double was the key blow.
Elias failed to survive a three-run fourth, although that wasn’t entirely his fault. A potential double-play grounder by Morales with one out and the bases loaded skipped past first baseman Logan Morrison for a two-run error.
The Mariners had a handful of chances through the first six innings against Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson but, also continuing a bleak trend, they failed to produce with runners in scoring position.
They avoided a third shutout in four games when Robinson Cano lashed a two-out RBI double in the seventh against reliever Caleb Thielbar.
When Kyle Seager followed with a single that moved Cano to third, it broke an 0-for-26 drought with runners in scoring position. Morrison left runners at the corners, though, by taking a borderline full-count strike.
Gibson (8-7) gave up seven hits in six shutout innings before handing an eight-run lead to the bullpen.
Thielbar, Jared Burton and Matt Guerrier closed out the victory, which clinched the season series for the Twins. They hold a 4-2 edge with only Thursday’s series finale remaining between the two teams.
The Mariners (49-42) have also lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 18-19 at San Diego.
Elias has given up 17 runs over 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts. The corresponding spike in his ERA: 3.74 to 4.54.
Trouble started early.
Elias put the Mariners in a quick hole by yielding a run in the first inning on a leadoff double by Brian Dozier and a two-out double by Morales.
The Mariners tried to answer later in the inning after Endy Chavez led off with a single, went to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch. Seager drew a two-out walk, but Morrison flied out.
Elias let the game get away in the second inning after a leadoff walk to Oswaldo Arcia, who went to third on Kurt Suzuki’s single. Both runners scored on Colabello’s double into the right-center gap for a 3-0 lead.
Sam Fuld’s single up the middle added another run. Fuld went to third on Dozier’s double past third. Elias finally got an out when Eduardo Nunez popped to third, which prompted an intentional walk to Trevor Plouffe.
Elias couldn’t keep Morales in the infield. A sacrifice fly to right pushed the lead to 5-0.
The Mariners got two-out singles in the third from Cano and Seager, but Morrison fouled out to the catcher.
Elias made it through the third with no problems but started the fourth by walking Fuld. After a fielder’s-choice grounder, a Nunez single put runners at first and third with one out.
That was enough.
Stephen Pryor, recalled prior to the game from Triple-A Tacoma, replaced Elias for his first big-league appearance since April 14, 2013.
Pryor loaded the bases with a walk before Morales pulled a grounder past Morrison at first. The result was a two-base error, and two more runs. Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly made it 8-0.