The Seattle Mariners (18-14) dropped a series-ending 11-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Park.
Here are three takeaways from the loss.
1. GONZALES EXITS EARLY
Mariners ace Marco Gonzales made an early exit in his eighth start of the season, spotting the Cubs with a 6-0 lead in just 1 2/3 innings.
Gonzales (5-1, 3.28 ERA) was tagged with all six of the runs (three were earned) he allowed in the second inning. He gave up six hits, walked three batters and struck out two while throwing just 49 pitches.
“It’s just one of those days,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He’s having a great year. He had a bad day today. They took advantage of it, and we paid the price.”
Gonzales retired the Cubs in order in the first before running into trouble in the second. He allowed a leadoff home run to Javier Baez, three singles and another RBI double to Baez before he was pulled.
“I’m a pitcher that’s in the zone the first couple pitches, so I think they took advantage of some pitches up in the zone that were misplaced by myself,” Gonzales said. “So, obviously some mistakes on my end.”
Last week, seven starts into his season, the Seattle Mariners ace became the first pitcher in club history to record five wins before May 1. He said he will keep to his approach moving forward, regardless of how aggressive the opposing team is.
“I can’t think that I need to get off of what I’m doing,” Gonzales said. “I need to stay strong to my approach and who I am. There’s something to be said about pitching to your strengths and not to another team’s weakness. I can’t get off of the roll that I’ve been on.”
2. OFFENSE COOLS OFF
The Mariners were held to a season-low one hit by Chicago ace Jon Lester (2-1, 1.73), a Tacoma native and Bellarmine Prep product, and a pair of Cubs relievers.
Third basemen Ryon Healy recorded Seattle’s only hit of the game on a single in the second inning. The Mariners only reached base three times — on Healy’s single, a throwing error in the first, and a walk in the fourth — and struck out 12 times. Seattle’s batters were retired in order in six innings.
“We’ve had a number of guys certainly that have cooled off,” Servais said. “They were going great for a long time, really up and down the lineup. (Mitch Haniger) didn’t have a great homestand, Domingo (Santana) has cooled off a little bit. Jay (Bruce), even (Daniel Vogelbach) as hot as he was has cooled a little bit. That’s going to happen.
“You’ve got to find other ways to stay in ball games and win ball games, it’s just not happening here at home right now. Day off tomorrow and we go on a challenging road trip. We’ve got to swing the bats better.”
3. ERROR COUNT RISES
The second inning had a chance to be more manageable for the Mariners, if not for an error that eventually led to three more runs.
After the Baez homer, Gonzales gave up back-to-back singles to Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber.
A routine fly ball to left field should have been the first out of the inning, but Domingo Santana dropped the ball, and the Cubs loaded the bases. They did most of their damage then, scoring five more runs in the six-run, 12-batter inning.
“They took it to us today,” Servais said. “We didn’t do much offensively, costly error again hurt us. When we’ve made errors, we haven’t just limited the damage to one run. It’s turned into a big crooked number, and it’s been tough for us to overcome.”
The Mariners continue to lead the majors in errors with 38, and Santana leads all left fielders with six.