Two moments, two swings actually, proved decisive Tuesday when the Mariners suffered a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field.
Mike Moustakas picked on a hanging curveball from Felix Hernandez in the third inning and drove it over the right-field wall for a two-run homer that erased the Mariners’ 2-1 lead.
Salvy Perez yanked a two-run double into the left-field corner in the fourth inning that extended the Royals’ lead to 6-2.
Now note what didn’t happen: The Mariners didn’t have an extra-base hit in Tuesday’s loss. Just as they didn’t have an extra-base hit in Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Royals in the series opener.
"We’ve got a good offensive team," manager Scott Servais said. "We know that. We have guys who are having good years. We’re just in a funk right now."
That funk is threatening to undermine roughly four weeks of hard-fought gains. An 18-8 run pulled the Mariners to two games over .500, a season high point, after a 13-3 romp over Houston on June 23.
The Mariners are 2-7 since then and head into Wednesday’s series finale against Kansas City at 41-44. They have five games left before the All-Star break and, suddenly, they’re looking for answers.
"That’s baseball," first baseman Danny Valencia said. "I’ve got nothing else for you."
Three takeaways from Tuesday’s loss:
***Segura still surging: Shortstop Jean Segura had four of the Mariners’ eight hits and raised his average to .342. He would be leading the American League in batting if he had sufficient plate appearances to qualify among the leaders.
Right now, he’s 12 shy.
Segura has four hits in two of his last three games and is batting .346 in 12 games since returning June 21 from the disabled list
***Gallardo makes his pitch: Had right fielder Ben Gamel held onto Jorge Bonifacio’s two-out fly in ninth inning after slamming into the wall, it not only would have been a terrific catch.
It would also have closed out Yovani Gallardo’s second straight relief appearance of three scoreless innings. Instead, Bonifacio wound up on third and scored on a wild pitch that probably should have been stopped by catcher Chooch Ruiz.
A few more strong extended outings by Gallardo could position him for a return to the rotation.
"I think he did more up and down in the strike zone than in and out," Servais said, "which is a good sign. That’s when he’s most effective."
***Another Heredia web gem: Center fielder Guillermo Heredia had a remarkable catch Sunday at Anaheim that helped the Mariners hold on for a 5-3 victory over the Angels.
On Tuesday, he ran down Alex Gordon’s two-out drive in second inning. Heredia made a leaping catch at the wall and held onto the ball when he slammed into the wall.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners