ARLINGTON, Texas – With all the late fireworks, it’s easy to forget the Mariners essentially lost this game way back in the second inning.
Fledgling center fielder Dustin Ackley had a shot at a catchable ball hit his way, but let it drop in front of front of him with the bases loaded. Felix Hernandez allowed five runs that inning and lasted only five frames in what became a 15-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
The Mariners came completely undone in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Rangers torched Seattle’s bullpen for eight runs.
“I got a pretty good jump, about as good as I could,” Ackley said of the ball hit by former Spokane Indian Jurickson Profar. “It was just one of those situations where … if you lay out and the ball gets by you, there are a couple of guys that are going to score.”
Instead of the bases loaded and two out with no runs across and the Mariners up 2-0, a laboring Hernandez – beset by mechanical problems all inning long – still had the bags juiced with a run in and only one out.
Longtime Hernandez nemesis David Murphy promptly drilled an ensuing Hernandez pitch over Ackley’s head and off the center field wall to bring in two more runs. Leonys Martin added a fourth Texas run by dropping a squeeze bunt that scored Profar from third, and Elvis Andrus singled to make it 5-2.
Hernandez’s Cy Young Award hopes took a hit, as his earned-run average climbed from 2.28 to 2.47.
“I wasn’t able to throw a strike,” Hernandez said of that second inning. “I was flying open (with mechanics), and I wasn’t getting ahead.”
Hernandez figured out his mechanics and stranded a pair of runners that inning. Kyle Seager then ripped an upper-deck homer to right in the top of the third off Rangers starter Martin Perez to get Seattle back to 5-3.
The Rangers tacked on two runs in the seventh on Craig Gentry’s two-run double off a struggling Oliver Perez. Then came the eighth, when Texas ran up the score on Perez and a fatigued-looking Charlie Furbush.
A throwing error that inning by shortstop Brendan Ryan on a potential inning-ending double-play attempt allowed three additional runs to score. Mariners pitchers threw 61 pitches in the inning.
“We’ll forget about this one,” interim Mariners manager Robby Thompson said. “Hopefully, everybody forgets about it as quickly as possible. You look back, it was 5-3 with two outs in the seventh inning.”