Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar is having a week — a season, really — to forget. Four losses in a seven-game span.
Farquhar’s latest stumble came Friday in a 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics when he served up a two-run homer in a eighth inning of a tie game to Danny Valencia. A good pitch, Farquhar insisted.
“It was about 8 inches over the zone,” he said. “A 1-2 fastball. He found it. I’ve got something rolling. I don’t know…”
Whatever it is, it was enough to send the Mariners to their eighth loss in nine games. The silver lining is it can’t get much worse for Farquhar (1-8) or the Mariners.
The season ends Sunday.
Farquhar inherited a 2-2 game to start the eighth inning from Hisashi Iwakuma, a pending free agent making, perhaps, his final appearance for the Mariners.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said he didn’t hesitate to call on Farquhar despite his recent struggles.
“The numbers were so good against the guys he was facing,” McClendon said. “We thought he could get it done and get us through that instead of having Carson (Smith) come in and face those tough lefties.”
The strategy backfired immediately.
Josh Reddick led off with a single to right, and Valencia followed with a booming homer to center — a no-doubter at 411 feet.
“All you can do is continue to execute pitches,” Farquhar said. “After that homer, I thought I did a good job of that. Even the base-hit and the home run, I thought I executed those pitches. That’s all you can really do.”
For Farquhar, it was like a recurring nightmare.
Last Saturday at Anaheim, he served up a walk-off homer to David Freese in a 3-2 loss to the Angels. Two days later, it was Houston’s Chris Carter with a rocket in the seventh inning that provided the winning run.
On Wednesday, again against the Astros, Farquhar kept the ball in the park in the seventh inning of a tie game. But yielded a run — the winning run in still another one-run loss.
That’s a tough week.
Iwakuma, limited the Athletics to two runs in seven innings in a pitchers’ duel against Oakland rookie Aaron Brooks, whom the Athletics acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline for Ben Zobrist.
Brooks (3-4) also gave up two runs in seven innings and got the victory when, after Valencia’s homer, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle protected the lead over the final two innings.
“Look at the pitch counts,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, “and those really tell you where (Brooks) is going. If he can keep the pitch count to a minimum, he’s getting ahead, he’s throwing strikes.”
Iwakuma said he tried not to think about it possibly being his final appearance for the Mariners.
“I’m not very conscious of the situation right now,” he said. “I don’t want to think about that. I just wanted to take it one day at a time, and that’s how I took today’s game.”
Oakland opened the scoring after putting runners at first and second in the third inning on one-out singles by Sam Fuld and Billy Burns.
Then the Mariners tried for a pickoff — two actually — and it blew up on them. First, catcher Jesus Sucre made a snap throw to first. Burns beat the throw ... but no problem at that point.
“That’s where it should have ended,” McClendon said.
But first baseman Logan Morrison threw to second in an effort to get Fuld, and the throw got through shortstop Ketel Marte for an error.
Fuld kept running and Marte, after retrieving the ball, threw home — and the ball got through Sucre. Two errors on Marte (missed catch and bad throw). Iwakuma then struck out Mark Canha and Reddick.
The run was unearned.
Oakland then loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on successive singles by Valencia, Stephen Vogt and Billy Butler. Iwakuma limited the damage to one run, but the Athletics led 2-0.
The Mariners then got one run back when Brad Miller opened the bottom of the inning with a line-drive opposite field homer to left.
Next, they caught a break when Fuld overran Sucre’s drive into left-field corner. Incredibly, it was scored a double. When Marte walked on four pitches, the Mariners had the possibility of a big inning.
They settled for one run.
Kyle Seager grounded into a double play, but Sucre moved to third and scored on Cruz’s single up the middle. It stayed 2-2 until Valencia’s homer against Farquhar.
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SATURDAY: Oakland (LHP Sean Nolin: 1-2, 5.25 ERA) at Seattle (LHP Roenis Elias: 5-8, 3.89), 6:10 p.m., Root Sports Northwest, 710-AM, 1320-AM