ARLINGTON, Texas – A road winning streak, well, that will have to wait for another time.
After finally putting together back-to-back road wins – something that shouldn’t have been so difficult – for the first time since the first two games of the 2022 season, the Mariners came into Saturday attempting to win three games in a row, which manager Scott Servais uses as a criteria to define as a winning streak.
But in a performance fitting of their season-long inconsistency, which seems to elevate away from T-Mobile Park, the Mariners failed in their quest, losing 3-2 to the Rangers.
“Tough day, hits were hard to come by,” manager Scott Servais said. “We had a lot of chances. Just not enough offensively in a winnable game.”
Despite Texas starting pitcher Glenn Otto walking five batters and hitting another, the Mariners never forced any of those free baserunners across home plate with a hit, a sacrifice fly or a fielder’s choice.
In fact, they only mustered two hits off Otto in his five innings pitched. They both came in the fifth inning and produced the only two runs scored against him.
This is how you lose 20 of 31 games played on the road.
“We’ve had some tough travels,” Servais said of the team’s 4 a.m. arrival on Friday. “It’s been a tough trip, guys are dragging a little bit today. We kind of we need to recharge our batteries a little bit. Typically after tough travel night, it’s the second day that gets you with a day game today and we kind of saw that a little bit. But again, it was a winnable game.”
At the current rate of performance and level of play, this Mariners team won’t have any travel issues and plenty of time to recharge in October.
They can still salvage a series win, which would be their third in a row, on Sunday in the three-game finale.
A must-win game on June 5? It sort of feels that way.
As for that elusive road winning streak of three games, well, that might have to wait for the next road trip since the Mariners travel to their own personal hell that is Minute Maid Park for a three-game series on Monday.
Still, giving away winnable games against teams that they feel like they should beat is a worrisome trend.
With each passing day, and losses like this one, the Mariners, 23-30 on the season, force themselves closer into a situation where series wins won’t be enough.
With a bullpen heavily taxed over the past two games and multiple relievers unavailable, Marco Gonzales gave the Mariners the quality start they needed. The veteran lefty tossed seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
“Marco was again outstanding,” Servais said. “I can’t say enough about the job he’s doing and the roll he’s on.”
All Texas runs off Gonzales came in the fourth inning. Marcus Semien led off with a single up the middle. After retiring the always dangerous Corey Seager, Gonzales issued a rare four-pitch walk to Mitch Garver. The extra baserunner meant that Adolis Garcia’s fly ball into the left-field seats was a three-run homer.
Garcia managed to stay on a first-pitch change-up at the bottom of the strike zone, using his pure strength to pull it over the wall in left field for his ninth homer of the season.
“If that pitch was executed, it’s either a swing and miss or a rollover (groundball) or something like that,” Gonzales said. “It just cut back over the middle.”
From there, Gonzales recorded outs on nine of the next 11 batters he faced.Cal Raleigh recorded the Mariners’ first hit with one out, sending a sharp single into right field. Jesse Winker, who walked in his previous two plate appearances, followed with a mammoth blast into the seats in deep right-center for his third homer of the season.
“I was looking for a fastball and just trying to put a good swing on it,” Winker said.
Down 3-2, the Mariners could never scratch out another run against the Rangers bullpen. They finished the game 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven runners on base.
“It’s just baseball,” Winker said. “I thought we hit a lot of balls hard at guys too.”