Hisashi Iwakuma could tell his stuff wasn’t sharp Friday while warming up in the bullpen. That’s not always a harbinger, but he then saw his first pitch lined into the left-field corner for a double.
And so it went.
The Mariners lurched their way through an 8-2 loss to the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. They committed two costly outfield errors and saw their three-game spring winning streak come to an end.
"Our pitching today wasn’t as sharp as it has been," manager Scott Servais said. "We’ve pitched really well down. A few walks today. We left some balls up. Some first-pitch home runs on balls in the middle of the plate…
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"We just didn’t play a good ballgame."
It was Carlos Gomez who whacked Iwakuma’s first pitch into the left-field corner for a double. Gomez tagged and broke for third on Adrian Beltre’s fly to right and scored on a wild throw by Mitch Haniger.
"You want to start off the game," Iwakuma said, "by throwing a strike."
Iwakuma threw 26 pitches over two innings, including 19 for strikes, while allowing three hits and the one run.
Gomez also hit Nick Vincent’s first pitch — and it cleared the left-field wall for a leadoff homer in the third inning.
Haniger’s second spring homer, with one out in the fourth, closed the gap to 2-1, and the Mariners pulled even later in the inning on Jarrod Dyson’s two-out RBI triple.
The tie didn’t last. Dillon Overton surrendered a one-out homer in the Texas fourth to Joey Gallo.
Defense betrayed Overton in the fifth when Dyson dropped a fly ball to center, and second baseman Robinson Cano made an offline throw to first on a possible double play. Texas turned it into a run for a 4-2 lead.
Ryan Weber, like Vincent, gave up a homer on his first pitch — a leadoff drive to left by Drew Robinson in the seventh inning.
Dan Altavilla started the eighth inning with back-to-back walks, which led to three more Texas runs.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mariners had one of their few highlights when they executed a textbook relay for the second out in the second inning after Ryan Rua sent a one-out drive into the right-center gap.
Center fielder Jarrod Dyson made a strong throw to second baseman Robinson Cano, whose on-target relay to third baseman Kyle Seager easily beat Rua.
PLUS: Dyson had a single and a triple in three at-bats and is batting .500 at 5-for-10. Haniger had a single in addition to his homer in three at-bats. The two were fine at the plate…lefty Marc Rzepczynski had a nice bounce-back outing by working around a leadoff walk in a scoreless sixth inning. He gave up six runs in one inning to Kansas City in his only previous appearance.
MINUS: Haniger and Dyson had errors in outfield. Haniger displayed a cannon arm in throwing to third after catching Beltre’s fly in the first inning — but the ball sailed over third baseman Kyle Seager and permitted a run to score. Dyson whiffed on a fly to center in the fifth inning, which led to another run…Vincent gave up a homer and double in his only inning.
STAT PACK: Shortstop Jean Segura was hitless in four at-bats and on 0-for-7 in two game since being added to the Dominican Republic’s roster for the World Baseball Classic…Weber has allowed four runs and seven hits over three innings in two outings.
SPRING BATTLES: Altavilla’s bid to win a bullpen job took a hit when gave up three runs in the eighth after opening the inning with a pair of walks.
QUOTABLE: "I don’t worry too much about the results," Iwakuma said. "It’s early. We’re all testing things. But as an end result, I did give up a lot of fly-ball outs. That’s something I need think about more going into my next start. Just keeping the ball down."
SHORT HOPS: Reliever Tony Zych ramped up his intensity while throwing 25 pitches in his second spring bullpen workout. He is recovering from surgery for a biceps tendon transfer…the Mariners were 1-for-11 with runners scoring position.
UP NEXT: Lefty James Paxton makes his spring debut at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time Saturday when the Mariners make their first trip to the east side to play Colorado at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
Paxton is scheduled for two innings in a piggyback start behind right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who gave up four runs in one inning to Kansas City in his previous start.
Gallardo will depart after the game to join Mexico for the World Baseball Classic.
Colorado lists right-hander Jon Gray as it starter. The Mariners are also expected to use Zac Curtis, Chris Heston and Rob Whalen.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 30
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners