It’s not like the Mariners haven’t seen Jason Vargas do this before. He spent four years here in Seattle, and his career numbers at Safeco Field generally range from solid to impressive.
So getting shut down by Vargas, as happened Friday to the Mariners in a 6-1 loss to Kansas City, can be viewed through a hey-these-things-happen prism.
Maybe that’s all this was, a blah night all around for the Mariners.
Defensively, they slopped their way through the game. And starter Brandon Maurer, while he only yielded singles in his 7 1/3 innings, yielded 14 of them.
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That’s the most hits this year allowed by any pitcher in either league.
Vargas, 3-1, in contrast, allowed just three hits, also all singles in seven shutout innings before the Mariners avoided the shutout by nicking reliever Aaron Crow for a run in the eighth.
So, yes, pretty much an all-around fiasco for the Mariners. And coming on their “Girls Night Out” promotion…just insert your own “bad date” joke here.
Maurer, 1-1, had a fascinating night, actually, in becoming the first pitcher in nearly 96 years to allow at least 14 hits, without allowing an extra-base hit and without a strikeout or a walk.
The last guy to do it was Brooklyn’s Dick Robertson on Aug. 21, 1918 in a 3-1 loss to the Browns in St. Louis. The Armistice that ended World War I was still 10 weeks in the future.
A more immediate concern for the Mariners is their attack again shows signs of flat-lining — just two runs over their last three games. Hisashi Iwakuma rescued them Thursday with a brilliant outing in a 1-0 victory.
The Mariners scored their only run on an error by right fielder Nori Aoki on James Jones’ two-out pinch double in the eighth inning. Brad Miller, who drew a one-out walk, scored from first.
That was it, though.
The Royals finished with 16 hits in all, all singles, and they started quickly against Maurer when Aoki and Eric Hosmer opened the game with singles.
That put runners at first and third with no outs. Billy Butler then hit a potential double-play grounder to Willie Bloomquist at third.
Bloomquist was a late replacement for Kyle Seager, who was scratched because of flu-like symptoms. And Bloomquist threw wildly to second, which pulled Robinson Cano off the base.
Crew chief Jeff Nelson called Hosmer safe at second, but the Mariners appealed — and replays showed Cano kept a foot on the base for the force. But Aoki scored for a 1-0 lead.
It broke a 27-inning scoreless streak for the Royals at Safeco.
Maurer gave up successive one-out singles in the second to Johnny Giavotella and Lorenzo Cain, but Mike Moustakas grounded into a double play.
More trouble for Maurer in the third. Alcides Escobar led off with a single, stole second and went to third on Aoki’s sacrifice. Hosmer’s sacrifice fly to left made it 2-0.
In contrast, Vargas set down the first seven Mariners before Mike Zunino reached on a one-out infield single in the third.
The Royals started the fourth with singles by Salvy Perez and Alex Gordon before the Mariners hiccuped again on defense when Giavotella hit a soft grounder to short.
Miller threw wildly to second for an error. Perez scored, and Gordon went to third. That permitted Gordon to score when Cain grounded into a double play.
Both runs were unearned, but the Royals led 4-0.
Maurer had no problems in the fifth, but the Royals started the sixth with singles by Butler and Perez.
Butler went to third on Gordon’s fly to deep center, which led to another run when Giavotella grounded into a force at second.
It was more of the same in the eighth, when the Royals bunched singles by Perez, Gordon and Cain for a run and a 6-0 lead.