SEATTLE — Don’t buy into the cliche. No matter what the standings say, not all losses are equal. And for the Mariners, Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Texas in 11 innings is the kind that stings deeper than most.
The Mariners were within one strike of a 1-0 victory in the ninth inning when closer Steve Cishek served up a no-doubt homer to Prince Fielder on a full-count pitch.
"I know he’s been struggling this year," Cishek said, "but I know he also has good power. I just got a little arrogant and tried to stick one in there on him. It cost us the game."
And then, after the Mariners left the bases loaded in the 10th, Mike Montgomery (2-1) served up a first-pitch homer in the 11th to Rougned Odor.
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"I was just trying to get ahead with a fastball," Montgomery said. "It was just one of those situations where he was swinging early, and he got to it."
Say this much: Neither homer was a cheapie. These were the type you didn’t need to see. Sound alone was enough.
The Mariners had a chance to erase Cishek’s mistake after Nelson Cruz then started the Mariners’ 10th with a leadoff single against Texas relief Jake Diekman.
After Kyle Seager flied out, the Mariners went to the bench for Dae-Ho Lee. The Rangers countered by replacing Diekman with Matt Bush, but Lee looped a single into right field that moved Cruz to second.
Bush retired Leonys Martin on a fly to center but loaded the bases by walking Steve Clevenger. The Mariners left them loaded when Ketel Marte flied out to deep right.
Odor’s homer turned Bush (2-0) into the winning pitcher when Sam Dyson closed out the victory. Even then, the Mariners had a shot after Dyson started the inning by hitting Nori Aoki on the knee.
Shawn O’Malley’s attempted sacrifice resulted in an out at second. The Mariners challenged the call, but a replay review confirmed the call.
Cruz’s two-out single put runners at first and second, but Dyson secured his ninth save by retiring Seager.
"We just didn’t get the big hit," manager Scott Servais said. "We had chances. We put some guys out there."
The loss dropped the Mariners to four games behind first-place Texas in the American League West Division.
Fielder’s homer in the ninth came on a 3-2 pitch from Cishek, who dropped to a crouch and raised his hands to his head in frustration as Fielder circled the bases.
"It came out of my hand good," Cishek said, "but I’ve got him being a chase guy up and in. I just didn’t get up there. It was literally one pitch, and it cost us the game. It was tough."
That homer also enabled Texas starter Colby Lewis to escape with a no-decision after holding the Mariners to one run and three hits in eight innings.
The one run was an Adam Lind homer in the fifth inning.
"Obviously, Colby Lewis had our number," Servais said. "He kept us off-balance all night. We didn’t get much going offensively other than the Lind home run."
Cishek’s mistake also snatched a victory away from James Paxton, who worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Edwin Diaz got the final two outs in the seventh inning before Joaquin Benoit worked a one-two-three eighth.
And Cishek seemed in control when he retired the first two Rangers in the ninth inning before Fielder unloaded his fifth homer of the season.
"He took a great swing on the 3-0 pitch," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said, "and got some good extension and felt good about it. So the 3-2 pitch, obviously, was just a tremendous swing. He put the barrel on it.
"It got us where we needed to be."
PLAY OF THE GAME: Mariners starter James Paxton escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth inning after catching a break when a grounder by Rougned Odor struck Nomar Mazara, who was running from first to second.
The ball was headed for right field and, presumably, an RBI single.
Instead, by rule, Mazara was out and Odor was credit with a single. The putout was given to first baseman Adam Lind, who was nowhere near the ball — just nearer than any other defensive player.
The rule forces all other runners to return to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch, which meant Ian Desmond had to return to second from third.
PLUS: James Paxton has allowed one earned runs in 12 1/3 innings over his last two starts…shortstop Ketel Marte made a nice running backhand catch on Nomar Maraza’s pop in foul ground up the left-field line for the final out in the Texas eighth inning…catcher Steve Clevenger went 1-for-3 with a walk and is 6-for-16 with five walks in his last four games.
MINUS: Closer Steve Cishek started the season at 9-for-9 in save situations while posting an 0.64 ERA in his first 13 games. Since then, he is 5-for-9 with a 4.91 ERA in 13 games…Robinson Cano grounded into two double plays and is now tied with Kyle Seager for the club lead with seven…
STAT PACK: The Mariners’ streak of having a player hit two home runs in a game ended at four.
QUOTABLE: Nori Aoki reached first base to start the 11th inning when hit by a pitch from Texas reliever Sam Dyson.
When Shawn O’Malley tried for sacrifice bunt, first baseman Mitch Moreland on chose to throw to second to get the lead runner. Umpire Tim Timmons ruled the throw beat Aoki.
"I knew he was fast," Moreland said, "but he'd just taken one off the foot, so I thought he might not be as fast. I thought if I could get to it cleanly, get a good throw off, we’d have a shot."
The Mariners challenged, but a replay review let the call stand.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners