August 2, 2010 in Sports

M’s losing patience

4-0 defeat wraps up winless road trip
Geoff Baker Seattle Times

MINNEAPOLIS – Russell Branyan is about as low-key, steady-as-she-goes as a ballplayer can get.

But even a master of understatement had a tough time downplaying this Mariners free fall after the team completed a winless trip Sunday with a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Seattle hitters struck out a season-high 15 times, managed just two hits and failed to advance any of their five base runners in losing their seventh in a row.

“We’ve got a lot of good guys in this clubhouse, a lot of guys that are working hard,” Branyan said. “But this thing’s kind of snowballed a little bit.”

If Branyan’s talking about the team snowballing, then it’s safe to assume the Mariners have been engulfed by an avalanche and are crashing down the mountainside. The Mariners went 0-7 against Minnesota and Chicago, got outscored 45-14, hit .158 in this series and failed to score a run in the final 21 innings.

Seattle is on pace for 102 losses, two shy of the team record. But if the Mariners can’t better their .207 winning percentage pace since July 1, they will actually lose 111.

Another sellout crowd of 40,374 at the new Target Field saw an improved, more relaxed-looking Luke French keep the Mariners in a scoreless duel with counterpart Francisco Liriano until the sixth inning. That’s when French left a 1-2 offering over the plate on Jason Kubel and saw him clear the bases with a three-run double off the wall in right-center field.

“The height was right, but the part of the plate was wrong,” French said. “I was pitching him in all day and had success. I tried to get it up and inside a little bit more and just kind of left it over the plate a little too much. And he was able to get some good wood on it.”

An ensuing single by Danny Valencia brought Kubel home.

Liriano struck out 11 over his seven innings.

“I’m not happy the way I swung the bat today, or yesterday,” Branyan said. “I felt like I got some pitches to hit today and I got some pitches to hit yesterday. But I couldn’t put them in play. I couldn’t square them up. I mean, it’s frustrating.

“You’re going to go through times like that where you don’t swing the bat well. But the whole team’s not swinging the bat well. We’re not getting on base. We’re just putting too much pressure on our pitching staff to go out there and put up zeros. Sooner or later, they’re going to break.”

Twins 4, Mariners 0

I.Suzuki rf 400001.307
Figgins 2b 401003.238
F.Gutierrez cf 400001.244
Branyan dh 400003.254
Kotchman 1b 400004.219
Jo.Wilson ss 300002.255
Tuiasosopo 3b 300001.150
M.Saunders lf 301000.243
Ro.Johnson c 100020.191
Totals 30020215
Minnesota ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Span cf 402000.276
A.Casilla 2b 411000.282
Delm.Young lf 311000.335
Cuddyer 1b 310010.276
Kubel dh 412301.259
Valencia 3b 402102.388
Repko rf 301000.324
Hardy ss 300000.260
Butera c 300001.184
Totals 3149414
Seattle 000000000—020
Minnesota 00000400x—491

E—Hardy (3). LOB—Seattle 5, Minnesota 5. 2B—Figgins (14), Delm.Young (32), Kubel (16), Valencia (8), Repko (3). 3B—M.Saunders (1). RBIs—Kubel 3 (61), Valencia (13). CS—Kubel (1). RLSP—Seattle 3 (Kotchman, I.Suzuki, M.Saunders); Minnesota 2 (Hardy, Butera). RMU—Repko. GIDP—Cuddyer. DP—Seattle 2 (Figgins, Jo.Wilson, Kotchman), (Ro.Johnson, Ro.Johnson, Figgins).

French L, 0-2 674413896.27
White 110000136.55
League 110001123.33
Liriano W, 10-7 72002111093.18
Rauch 100002122.97
Guerrier 100002182.89

IBB—off French (Cuddyer). HBP—by French (Delm.Young). T—2:14. A—40,374 (39,504).

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