It didn’t take long for the June blues to bite the Mariners.
And bite hard.
Shortstop Jean Segura had to be helped from the field Thursday after suffering an twisting his right ankle on a slide at second base. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz left the game after being hit in the left hand by a pitch.
And if the clock wasn’t already ticking on Yovani Gallardo, it should be now after he labored though another rough start that scotched any chance for Mariners to complete a four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies.
Gallardo made a quick exit in a 6-3 loss at Safeco Field that halted the Mariners’ winning streak at four games.
It all made for a bad day on a beautiful Pacific Northwest afternoon.
The status of Segura and Cruz isn’t yet known, but it’s not a great sign that neither were available for comment after the game because they were each undergoing further examinations.
"They’re running some more tests," manager Scott Servais said. "We’ll know more (on Friday). We’re hopeful it’s not a broken bone (on Cruz), but we don’t know yet on that.
"I'm hopeful the guys are not out for an extended period of time. We certainly need them. But injuries happen. We’ve dealt with it all year, and we’ll deal with this if we lose the guys.
"I’m hopeful that it’s only going to be a day-to-day thing with both of those guys."
The Mariners are already operating with a three-man bench — one fewer than normal. Even a short-term injury would likely necessitate a roster move prior to Friday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Segura tried to advance from first to second in the the fourth inning on Danny Valencia’s sacrifice fly but was thrown out when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado cut the throw to the plate and threw to second.
Cruz was hit by a pitch from Colorado starter Kyle Freeland in the third inning. Cruz initially remained in the game but did not take his next at-bat in the fifth.
Segura leads the Mariners with a .341 average, while Cruz leads the club with 12 homers and 42 RBIs.
As for Gallardo, he’s healthy but the numbers are increasingly grim.
He is 2-6 with a 6.24 ERA after allowing five runs in three innings. A year ago, Gallardo was 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA at Baltimore. While he was once a front-of-the-rotation starter, this might be what he is at this point.
"I’ve been feeling great," he insisted. "It’s the best that I’ve felt the last two or three years. You can just see it by the way the ball is coming out, velocity and everything. It’s been up. It’s just…just frustrating.
"I wish I had a better answer for you. I haven’t done my job this year."
The Mariners, with an injury-depleted rotation, had little choice this season but to start Gallardo every fifth day in hopes that he would resurrect his past form.
That is changing.
James Paxton returned Wednesday night from the disabled list. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly could all be back by the end of June.
Gallardo might only have another two or three starts to build a case to remain part of a restocked rotation.
"I’ve got to keep working," he said, "and whatever I have to do, I have to figure it out, and I have to figure it out as soon as I can. Go back to basics. Just focus on hitting the glove."
Freeland (6-3) gave up two runs in six innings before the Colorado bullpen closed out the victory. The Rockies got homers from Mark Reynolds and Arenado.
"Both home runs I gave up were neck-high fastballs," Gallardo said. "On Arenado with two strikes, I tried to elevate it, and he hits it out.
"You throw the pitch that you want to throw, and it still gets hit out of the ballpark, it’s tough."
Colorado took its first lead of the series after Gallardo started the second inning by walking Carlos Gonzalez. Reynolds then rocked a 94-mph hour fastball over the center-field walk for a two-run homer.
Gerardo Parra followed with a double that hopped the wall before moving to third on an Ian Desmond sacrifice. Trevor Story made it 3-0 by lining a single through the left side.
Tony Wolters’ single moved Story to third before Charlie Blackmon made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly.
The Mariners got one run back later in the inning on Guillermo Heredia’s line-drive homer to left, but Colorado answered immediately when Arenado opened the third inning with a homer to left.
Freeland started the fourth inning by by hitting Ben Gamel and Carlos Ruiz with pitches. Segura’s grounder to short turned into a force at second.
Valencia followed with a sacrifice fly. Gamel scored before Segura was thrown out at second. Segura had to be helped from the field.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Third baseman Kyle Seager turned Reynolds’ sharp short-hop grounder near the line into a double play in the third inning.
PLUS: Casey Lawrence saved the bullpen and built a case for himself by pitching five strong innings after Gallardo’s quick exit. Lawrence gave up one run and three hits while setting a club relief record with nine strikeouts…Robinson Cano had two hits in four at-bats.
MINUS: Beyond Gallardo’s poor performance and the injuries to Segura and Cruz? Nothing worth mentioning.
STAT PACK: Freeland hit three batters. The Mariners have been hit 26 times this year by pitches. They’ve hit their opponents on 17 occasions. It was the 21st time n franchise history that the Mariners were hit by three pitches in a game. The previous time was May 16 by Oakland, when Jarrod Dyson was hit all three times.
QUOTABLE: "We’re through feeling sorry for ourselves (about injuries)," Servais said. "That’s over. That’s behind us. We’ll have a good weekend."
SHORT HOPS: Long-time ace Felix Hernandez will face batters in two or three simulated innings Friday, which marks the next step in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder. If all goes well, he is likely to begin a rehab assignment next week — probably Wednesday at Triple-A Tacoma…outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to take part Friday in regular batting practice in his recovery from a strained right oblique muscle. Barring problems, Haniger is expected to do so again Saturday and Sunday before departing on a rehab assignment.
ON DECK: The Mariners open a three-game weekend series against Tampa Bay at 7:10 p.m. Friday at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Christian Bergman (2-2 with a 4.67 ERA) will oppose Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-2 and 3.14).
There will be a postgame fireworks show with a "Sounds of Summer."
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners