Mariners generate little in setback to Marlins
SEATTLE – None of the magic or warmth experienced in the opener of this Mariners “away series” was in evidence on an unusually chilly late June night at the ballpark.
It got downright frosty for Jason Vargas, who gave up more hits before getting a single out Saturday night than he had in all nine innings of his previous start. Vargas gave up three runs in the first inning and the Seattle offense never caught up in taking a 4-2 loss to the Florida Marlins.
Even fans who tried to start a Miguel Olivo chant similar to the “Oh-li-vo!” stuff of the prior evening were left without anybody following along. Olivo wound up grounding into a double play to end the eighth inning and the last real scoring chance the Mariners had.
Carlos Peguero was one of the few bright spots for Seattle, launching a solo home run in the fifth off Chris Volstad to get his team on the board. Peguero also looked strong on defense and came through with a second hit during a Mariners scoring rally in the seventh inning.
But it wasn’t enough as the Mariners fell in front of 16,896 fans at Safeco Field on a night they again played the “visiting team” to the “home” Marlins.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was asked pregame about Peguero and what he’s seen from the outfielder despite a batting average that stood at .200 heading into the contest. The manager seemed particularly impressed by some of the outfield improvements Peguero has made since being called up.
“This guy’s just gotten a lot better out there,” Wedge said. “And that just hasn’t happened. He’s worked hard at it. A lot of early work, taking balls off the bat. Good conversations between him and (outfield coach Mike) Brumley. But you just see the potential he has: the raw power, the bat speed, the athleticism and the quickness.”
Peguero showed off some of his outfield skills in the fifth inning, running down an Omar Infante single to left and coming up throwing. Emilio Bonifacio was attempting to go from first to third on the play, but Peguero’s throw arrived in time – only to have third baseman Chone Figgins drop it.
The crowd, predictably, jumped all over Figgins, but the Mariners got out of the inning with no further damage. Florida added a run in the sixth to go up 4-1 on a two-out single to right by Volstad off Vargas, but then Peguero notched his second hit of the night in the seventh to help a Seattle rally.
Three straight Mariners notched singles, the final one by Peguero to load the bases with one out. Figgins hit a sacrifice fly to center that ended Volstad’s night.
Mike Carp was put on deck to pinch hit for Vargas, but when the Marlins opted to bring in southpaw Randy Choate, the Mariners countered with Justin Smoak batting from the right side. Smoak had been a late scratch because the team said he’d been feeling “under the weather” pregame.
Choate wound up hitting Smoak with a pitch to load the bases, but Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to end the last real chance the Mariners had.
Seattle didn’t get a base runner until Ichiro reached on an error to start the fourth inning after Volstad had retired nine in a row.
Marlins 4, Mariners 2
E—Helms (3). LOB—Seattle 5, Florida 7. 2B—H.Ramirez (8), J.Buck (11). HR—Peguero (6). RBIs—Peguero (16), Figgins (14), H.Ramirez 2 (21), Stanton (44), Volstad (1). S—Volstad. SF—Figgins, Stanton. RLSP—Seattle 3. RMU—A.Kennedy. GIDP—Olivo. DP—Florida 1.
IR-S—Choate 2-0. IBB—H.Ramirez. HBP—Smoak. Balk—Volstad. T—2:08. A—16,896 (47,878).