The Seattle Mariners started with Dee Gordon’s single, Jean Segura’s single and Mitch Haniger’s home run.
The game was tied two innings later.
Then Los Angeles Angels starter Garrett Richards left the game with an injury in the third inning.
But the Mariners never capitalized.
And by the end of the fourth inning their own starting pitcher was removed and the Mariners were suddenly staring at a four-run deficit and went on to lose, 9-3, for their third loss in their past four games after this Tuesday night clunker in Anaheim.
In those three losses, the Mariners have been outscored 21-5. They’ve lost four of their past six games since their eight-game win streak ended against the Angels last week.
The Mariners (57-35) pulled Mike Leake after he allowed seven runs (five earned) and 11 hits in four innings. He’s allowed 20 hits and pitched eight innings his past two starts combined.
“I was just leaving some pitches elevated and some balls were finding holes,” Leake told reporters afterward. “Sometimes you don’t release it where you want.”
Mariners manager Scott Servais said afterward that he left Leake in because he’s seen the right-hander turn games around before.
“You see Mike Leake struggle and then he’ll get on a roll and put up five zeros in a row,” Servais said. “It just didn’t happen tonight. I thought he was going to get through it.”
Then he allowed a two-run home run to Albert Pujols and the Angels took a 6-3 lead.
And for the Mariners’ fast start, their offense had just three hits combined against five Angels pitchers the rest of the way, even though Richards exited after 2 2/3 innings because of forearm irritation after he had recently come off the disabled list because of a hamstring injury.
“Three runs in the first inning and you feel like you’re going to have a big night,” Servais said. “It didn’t happen.
“I often talk about how you have to hit on the road to win. And we have to pick it up there offensively.”
Here’s a synopsis of what the Mariners experienced on Tuesday:
The good: Hey, the Oakland Athletics finally lost. The Mariners are still six games ahead of the surging A’s for the second wild card.
The bad: The Houston Astros beat them, taking a four-game lead in the American League West standings.
The ugly: Their Tuesday.
Dee Gordon had two errors at second base that led to runs, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun hit home runs and the Mariners offense went 11 consecutive batters without a hit.
Calhoun, who entered the game batting .170, reached base four times, scored three runs and drove in two others. He’s batting .389 (7-for-18) against the Mariners this season and .163 against every other team.
And now the Angels (47-45), though they are fourth in the AL West, have just two fewer wins than the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians. Yet, they are four games back of the Athletics (51-41), 10 games back of the Mariners and 14 games back of the Astros (62-32).
A few takeaways:
What’s happened to Mike Leake?
He’s pitched eight innings his past two starts combined – both against the Angels. He’s allowed 20 hits (20!), 11 runs (eight earned) and three uncharacteristic walks to top it off.
Apparently the Angels happened.
Far from where Leake was through June. From his final two starts of May and then his six June starts, Leake had posted a 2.22 ERA and opponents were hitting .213 against him.
But Leake on Tuesday? He exited after four innings, allowed 11 hits, seven runs (five earned) with two walks and one strikeout. It’s his worst outing since allowing eight runs and 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings in an April 23 loss to the White Sox.
“Leake had a tough time keeping the ball down and out of the middle of the plate,” Servais said. “He’s had a couple rough outings after he had such a long stretch when he was so consistent, really on top of it and giving us six or seven innings every time out.
“We got to get him back on track. Really important for our starting rotation going forward.”
In his three losses against the Angels this year, Leake has pitched 13 1/3 innings, allowed 14 runs (11 earned) with 27 hits allowed and seven walks. He has a 7.43 ERA against the Halos.
“He’s not locating and he has to,” Servais said. “That’s his game. Not just that but the back and forth. They were on him.”
For all the bad in this one, Mitch Haniger showed why he’s deserving of his first All-Star nod.
Fresh of learning he’s heading to Washington, D.C., for his first All-Star game, Haniger launched the first pitch he saw from Garrett Richards, an 89-mph slider, for a three-run home run and a 3-0 Mariners lead.
That was after Dee Gordon singled and Jean Segura sent him to third with a single. That was Segura’s first at-bat since learning he was leading the American League’s Final Vote tally to secure the final spot to the All-Star game. Segura will learn by 1 p.m. Wednesday if he beat the Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi, Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton, Twins’ Eddie Rosario and Angels’ Andrelton Simmons in the fan vote.
Haniger also hit a double in the top of the eighth inning and finished 2-for-4.
Dee Gordon spent much of the series against the Colorado Rockies robbing them of hits.
His glove betrayed him once in this one. He ranged for Shohei Ohtani’s ground ball in the fourth inning and tried to throw, but it was stuck in his webbing and he threw it away.
Ian Kinsler followed with a run-scoring single and that capped a four-run fourth inning for the Angels – officially turning the Mariners’ once 3-0 lead into a 7-3 deficit.
And his throwing error to lead off the second inning allowed former Mariner Luis Valbuena to reach before he scored on Kole Calhoun’s groundout. Andrelton Simmons followed with a comebacker off of Mike Leake’s glove for another run to tie the game, 3-3.
Play of the game
Mariners manager Scott Servais stuck with Mike Leake for the fourth inning despite the Angels harassing him with hits.
They took a 4-3 lead on Andrelton Simmons’ RBI double to score Kole Calhoun, but the play of the game was probably three batters later.
Justin Upton had just grounded into a double play and Leake was one out away from getting out of the inning, then Albert Pujols launched a two-run home run, his 14th of the season.
Kole Calhoun is batting .180 this season.
He’s hitting .389 (7-for-18) against the Mariners.
He went 3-for-4 in this one with two RBI, three runs scored, he drew a walk and he hit a solo home run against Nick Rumbelow.
Give this to the Angels’ bullpen. Collectively, Noe Ramirez, Cam Bedrosian, Jose Alvarez, Hansel Robles and Taylor Cole combined to pitch 6 1/3 shutout innings after Garrett Richards left after 2 2/3 with forearm irritation.
They allowed three hits those final innings. Richards allowed four hits in his short stint.
Nick Rumbelow and Roenis Elias combined to allow two runs over the final four innings out of the bullpen for the Mariners, but Servais should have turned to the bullpen sooner.
The Mariners had three hits and three runs from their first three batters of the game, but had four hits and no runs the rest of the game.
“The consistency up and down the lineup, we got to get it rolling against offensively,” Servais said.