Seattle Mariners

Rangers tag Mike Leake with pair of early three-run homers, Mariners offense stalls in loss

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake walks off the field at the end of the top of the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Seattle.
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake walks off the field at the end of the top of the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Seattle. AP

The decisive damage was done before the Seattle Mariners even recorded an out.

Texas’ Elvis Andrus crushed a three-run home run to center field with no outs in the first, Rougned Odor added another three-run jack in the second, and the Rangers continued to tack on from there Saturday night at T-Mobile Park.

Meanwhile, the Mariners managed just three hits, dropped the forgettable 15-1 loss, and are no longer in position to go for the series sweep over Texas in Sunday’s finale.

“I have no words of wisdom,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “That was a rough ballgame. We did that to them a couple nights ago, and they turned around and flipped it on us tonight.”

The Rangers wasted no time jumping on Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (2-3, 4.98 ERA), handing him his third loss in as many starts.

Leake walked Shin-Soo Choo to begin the game, Odor reached on a fielding error by Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham, and Andrus promptly drove both runners in with his 440-foot homer to give Texas a 3-0 lead.

“We’ve got to play good defense, and certainly we made some costly errors that didn’t help out Mike Leake at all tonight,” Servais said.

Domingo Santana, who leads the American League with 30 RBIs, answered for Seattle in the bottom half of the inning with a towering 401-foot solo shot to left — his sixth homer of the season and the Mariners’ 59th — but that was the only run the club produced.

Odor fired back with his three-run shot to right in the second, giving Texas a 6-1 advantage. Logan Forsythe doubled, and Jeff Mathis reached on a dropped fly ball by Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith ahead of Odor’s homer.

“The one on Andrus, he was ready on the first pitch. It wasn’t a terrible pitch,” Leake said. “The other one wasn’t terrible either, (Odor) was just ready again.”

The Rangers tagged Leake with two more runs in the third, and one in the fifth. He left the game after five complete innings, trailing 9-1.

Leake, who has routinely worked through six innings for Seattle this season, threw 98 pitches in his shorter-than-usual start, allowing the nine runs (five earned) on 10 hits, while striking out four and walking one. It was the first time in six starts this season Leake has given up double-digit hits and more than four runs.

“It was not a great start, and it didn’t really finish that great either,” Leake said.

Seattle got its first look at right-handed reliever Mike Wright, who was activated ahead of Saturday’s game, in the sixth.

Wright struggled in 10 relief appearances with Baltimore this season — where he compiled a 9.45 ERA in 13 1/3 innings — before he was designated for assignment on April 21. Some of those early issues resurfaced in his two innings against the Rangers.

Wright threw 37 pitches to get through the sixth, and allowed Texas to tack on its 10th run on a two-out RBI double by Hunter Pence. He then walked Joey Gallo and hit Danny Santana with a pitch to load the bases before striking out Forsythe to retire the side.

The seventh was better, but Wright allowed two more hits, and spent 58 pitches across his two innings. He allowed the one run on three hits, struck out three and walked two in his outing.

“He threw a lot of pitches out there tonight,” Servais said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue with him. He’s a multi-inning guy. He has started in the past.

“But, we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got to throw a few things at him, we’ve got some ideas to try to help him out and that’s kind of the position he’s in at this point in his career. We’ll do everything we can to try to help him and get more out of him and see where it leads to.”

Mariners right-hander Chasen Bradford then served up a one-out, first-pitch homer in the eighth to Joey Gallo, whose solo shot to right was just out of reach of a leaping Mitch Haniger.

Super utility player Dylan Moore, who started the game at second base, was called on to make his pitching debut in the ninth, to save the Mariners from using another reliever and gave up four more runs.

Moore said it was his first time pitching professionally since 2016, when he threw in a similar situation with Low-A Hickory in the Rangers’ organization.

“Same result actually,” Moore said. “Lot of hits, lot of runs.”

Before that, he hadn’t pitched in a game since little league, he said. He never pitched in high school or travel ball.

Catcher Omar Narvaez, who originally had the night off, made his first appearance at second to replace Moore.

Moore loaded the bases with no outs before Nomar Mazara and Pence hit back-to-back RBI singles, and Forsythe drove in another run on a fielder’s choice.

The 15 runs and 20 hits the five Mariners pitchers combined to allow were both season highs.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s three hits are tied second-fewest the club has recorded in its first 30 games, and their 16 strikeouts tied a season high. Santana’s homer and singles by Haniger and Ryon Healy was the only offense the Mariners managed.

Texas starter Mike Minor (3-2, 2.88) shut the Mariners down for seven innings, allowing the one run, three hits and striking out a season-high 13 while walking just one on 111 pitches. He allowed just five Seattle base runners.

“He had some good stuff, that’s for sure,” Moore said. “He located pretty well, his slider-cutter thing was working. He was throwing in good spots. He definitely had it going.”

Ariel Jurado retired the Mariners in order in the eighth and ninth with three strikeouts to end the game.

ON TAP

Mariners rookie right-hander Erik Swanson (0-2, 4.61) is scheduled to meet Texas left-hander Lance Lynn (2-1, 4.44) in Sunday’s series finale at 1:10 p.m.

The game will be telecast on Root Sports Northwest, and broadcast on 710-ESPN radio.

Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports at TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Emerald Ridge High School.


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