This one stings. Not just because the Mariners squandered an early three-run in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. But because of the way they let it slip away.
The Mariners presented Yovani Gallardo with a 3-0 lead in the first inning after getting homers from Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager against Indians starter Danny Salazar.
Gallardo then walked the bases loaded in the Cleveland first inning and gave up two runs on Jose Ramirez’s double off the end of the bat, and two more on Lonnie Chisenhall’s well-placed grounder up the middle.
That was it. No more scoring and, for the Mariners, no more hits. The Mariners are now 4-5 on a three-city trip that concludes Sunday against the Indians at Progressive Field.
Three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
***Walks will haunt: Gallardo said it himself. Walking the bases loaded in the first inning, particularly after being presented with a three-run lead, is something that "definitely can’t happen."
Gallardo pulled it together after the walks, but it didn’t matter. A couple of well-placed hits turned those walks into a disastrous four-run inning. If the Indians had hit their way back into the game, that’s one thing. Making it a gift is much worse.
***Going dry: OK, let’s get past the first inning. The Mariners were only down one run, but their lineup, which started the day tied for the league lead in runs scored, didn’t even get a hit the rest of the way.
That also definitely can’t happen.
***Vogelbach on thin ice: That were a lot of bad at-bats in Saturday’s loss, so it’s probably unfair to single out Dan Vogelbach for striking out against Indians closer Cody Allen in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter.
It was a bad at-bat. Vogelbach jumped ahead 2-0 in the count and then took called strikes on two hittable fastballs before striking out on an off-speed pitch. In isolation, it is just that — a bad at-bat.
But Vogelbach is now 2-for-13 in five games since his promotion from Triple-A Tacoma. He has strikeouts in three of his last four at-bats. The other at-bat resulted in a ground-ball double play.
Further, he hasn’t played in the field since falling to handle two catchable grounders in Tuesday’s blowout loss in Detroit.
A poor start by veteran Danny Valencia created an opportunity for Vogelbach, but it might not last much longer if he doesn’t pick it up.
There are few DH at-bats available as long as Nelson Cruz is around, and manager Scott Servais has already shown a willingness to use utilityman Taylor Motter at first base as an alternative to Valencia.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners