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Mariners let game, series slip away

Mariners starter James Paxton suffered the first loss of his major league career. (Associated Press)
Mariners starter James Paxton suffered the first loss of his major league career. (Associated Press)

PHILADELPHIA – It was a game the Mariners probably should have won and a series they needed to win.

Instead, they left Philadelphia shaking their heads in frustration having made minimal progress in the race for the postseason in the past three games.

Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Phillies was a game that was there to be won and Seattle failed, thanks to a series of mistakes and missed opportunities.

“I feel like we gave the game away,” outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison said. “We had opportunities early. Errors, passed balls, wild pitches, whatever, it feels like we gave them all four runs.”

The season is winding down, and the Mariners are playing for the postseason. The 126th game of the season was a loss and it should have been a win.

“It still hurts and it still sucks,” Morrison said. “When the opportunity is there, you have to take advantage of it. And we didn’t do that today.”

Instead, the Mariners dropped two of three to a Phillies team that is 56-71 with the destination being 90-plus losses. It’s a team Seattle should beat two out of three games, not lose two out of three.

“We know where we are at in the race,” Morrison said. “Good teams don’t do that. Playoff teams don’t do that. We have to come out and be better. We have been, and we will.”

Manager Lloyd McClendon wasn’t overly angry about the loss. He felt this was an exception to the clean baseball his team has played this season.

“To be honest with you, we’ve been pretty damn good,” McClendon said. “This is the first one we had all year like that. A lot of things just didn’t go right.”

In a game full of ugly innings, the fourth inning was most frustrating for the Mariners and starter James Paxton.

The rookie left-hander had just been given a 3-1 lead in the top of the inning. Paxton (3-1) gave up three runs in the inning thanks to his own throwing error, a passed ball, a wild pitch and lack of command.

“I don’t think he struggled early on,” McClendon said. “Things just got away from him in that one inning. Those things happen. It’s part of the growing pains.”

It led to the first loss of his big-league career. He had been 6-0 in nine starts.

The Mariners had 12 hits, but stranded nine runners and had just two hits in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

In the Mariners’ two-run fourth inning, Jesus Sucre missed the sign for a suicide-squeeze bunt, leading to Chris Denorfia getting picked off at third and wasting a chance. In the fifth inning with runners on second and third, Ryan Howard snared Kyle Seager’s line drive down the first-base line, robbing the Mariners of two runs.

“Some days the stars just don’t align,” McClendon said.

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