If you’re like most of us, you’ve had a rough weekend or two in your life. Remember how, in many ways, the following Monday was even worse as you tried to pick up the pieces?
That’s the Mariners at this point.
Baltimore battered ex-Oriole Yovani Gallardo for seven runs in the first two innings Monday night in an 11-3 romp that sent these fast-fading Mariners to their fifth straight defeat.
The four weekend losses to the Los Angeles Angels were full of frustrating what-ifs and if-onlys. The Mariners had the lead in three of the games, and the other loss was a tie game going onto the ninth inning.
This was a shellacking.
"I look at where we’re at right now and where we were at six days ago," manager Scott Servais said, "it’s like, wow, you can’t believe it’s the same club. But it is baseball, and it will turn around. It needs to start happening here pretty soon."
Gallardo (5-8) quickly erased any thoughts that a new week and a new series against a new opponent would offer any change in fortunes when his very first pitch resulted in a Tim Beckham homer to right field.
The Mariners answered with one run later in the inning against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman (9-8) but wasted the chance for much more.
Baltimore then scored six runs in the second inning. Manny Machado’s grand slam capped the rally and amounted to a standing eight count.
The five-game skid matches a season-worst and dropped the Mariners to 59-61, which puts them 2 1/2 games behind the Angels for the American League’s final wild-card berth. The Mariners also lost five in a row from May 19-24.
Gallardo pitched into the fifth inning, which somewhat saved a bullpen that spent the weekend throwing oil.
Casey Lawrence replaced Gallardo and slowed the bleeding by giving up three runs in four innings before Thyago Vieira made his big-league debut with a one-two-three ninth.
Vieira’s first pitch was a 98-mph fastball that Chris Davis rocked back through the box. Vieira threw up his glove and made the catch at face-level.
"Line drives don’t scare me," he said. "So I just stayed focused for the next hitter. That’s baseball. You have to be prepared for everything."
Vieira got a nice ovation after completing the scoreless inning. There wasn’t much else to cheer about.
Three takeaways from Monday’s loss:
***First batter blues: Beckham’s homer marked the 12th time this season that a Mariners pitcher served up a boomer to start the game. Twelve.
Gallardo did it for the third time in his last five starts.
Ariel Miranda has done it five times in his 24 starts and, not coincidentally, is tied for the major-league lead overall with 30 homers allowed. Felix Hernandez did it three times in 13 starts.
"Maybe we need to start throwing a few more breaking balls on the first pitch," Servais said. "They are coming out swinging, and we’ve left balls up and in the middle of the plate, which is a great pitch to hit."
***Trade deficit: The Mariners acquired Gallardo from the Orioles in a Jan. 6 trade for outfielder Seth Smith.
Gallardo gave up eight runs in four-plus innings while falling to 5-8 as his ERA spiked to 5.84. Smith went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and is batting .273 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs.
The deal generally looks better if viewed in tandem with another trade made the same day: pitcher Nathan Karns to Kansas City for outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Generally. Dyson ran into a needless out in the fifth inning in trying to advance from first to second on a fly out to center field. He appeared to beat the throw from Adam Jones but came off the base on the slide while Beckham kept the tag on.
***Big missed chance: Gallardo’s implosion overshadowed everything, but don’t let the Mariners’ attack completely off the hook for failing to maximize a chance to hang a crooked number in the first inning.
The Mariners erased Beckham’s leadoff homer by getting back-to-back doubles from Jean Segura and Yonder Alonso. A single by Robinson Cano and an error then put runners at second and third with no outs.
The Mariners got squat from that point. Gausman struck out Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager before retiring Guillermo Heredia on a grounder to short.
The Orioles scored six runs in the next inning.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners