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Seattle Mariners

Costly mistakes, lack of offense doom Mariners in frustrating loss to Royals

Seattle second baseman Josh Rojas, left, the tags out the Kansas City's Hunter Renfroe (16), who was attempting to stretch a single into a double in the third inning at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday in Seattle.   (Getty Images)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

One run scored over the first eight innings, one missed play on defense and one costly mistake pitch.

The Mariners might have been able to withstand one of those aspects, even the minimal offensive production, and still prevailed on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park.

But all three in one game?

Not happening.

Instead, the Mariners suffered a frustrating 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals in a game that they controlled for most of it.

Logan Gilbert’s strong start was derailed and ended with one misplaced pitch. He was in that situation from a missed play on defense that had been made consistently in the recent stretch of winning and even earlier in the game. And, well, scoring one run on Luke Raley’s solo homer over the first eight innings made Mitch Haniger’s solo homer in the ninth inning moot.

For six innings, Gilbert dominated the Royals, facing one batter over the minimum number of hitters he could face with six strikeouts.

After he struck out Maikel Garcia, Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino to start the game, Gilbert allowed a leadoff single to Salvador Perez to start the second. But he was quickly erased when Michael Massey hit a hard ground ball to Ty France to start a 3-6-3 double play.

In the third inning, Hunter Renfroe singled to left field but was thrown at second by Sam Haggerty trying to turn it into a double.

Gilbert issued his first walk to Perez to start the fifth inning, but Massey’s second plate appearance was the same as the first – a hard ground ball to France and a 3-6-3 double play.

When Garrett Hanson singled with two outs in the sixth, it was the first time Gilbert faced more than three batters in an inning. But it wouldn’t be his last.

His strong outing was sidetracked in the seventh inning.

He lost an eight-pitch battle with Bobby Witt Jr., walking him to start the problems. It appeared Gilbert had erased the base runner in a similar fashion to the second and fifth innings when Pasquantino hit a ground ball to second baseman Josh Rojas. But the sure double-play ball wasn’t turned into two outs. Rojas mishandled the ball and had to settle for an out at first base, allowing Witt to move into scoring position.

The Mariners pitched around Perez, eventually intentionally walking him. Gilbert came back to strike out Massey for the second out of the inning.

At 97 pitches, Servais stayed with his starter against Nelson Velazquez, who had struck out in his previous two plate appearances and came into the game having struck out in 32% of his plate appearances.

Gilbert fired a first-pitch slider in the dirt. He came back with the same pitch again, but this 1-0 slider that was supposed to be low and away, backed up to the inside part of the plate. Velazquez was able to keep his hands inside of the ball and put a quality swing on it. Instead of hooking it foul, he sent a screaming fly ball over the wall in left field for a three-run homer. It was just his third homer of the season, and it gave the Royals a 3-1 lead.

Kansas City added another run in the eighth inning to push the lead to 4-1.