Not to say things can’t get worse for the Seattle Mariners.
There are 37 games remaining in the season. So opportunities abound, but ... Monday night will be tough to top.
They built a five-run lead at home against the club with the American League’s worst record.
They had Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound; he had won his previous three decisions, including a no-hitter in his past start at Safeco Field.
And they lost 11-5 to the Oakland Athletics, who had to patch together seven innings from their bullpen after starter Felix Doubront exited because of a bruised right foot.
“Listen, we were winning 5-0,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “When the opposition scores 11 runs and gets (15) hits, there’s not a lot to say. There’s not a lot to analyze. We just didn’t pitch well.”
Maybe there have been worse losses in this dreadfully disappointing season. It’s a debatable point, certainly. But consider:
Iwakuma (5-3) seemed to be in top form. He had permitted just one infield single when he carried a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning — a fifth inning he never completed after giving up seven two-out runs.
Again ... seven two-out runs.
“At the end,” Iwakuma said, “I couldn’t make the last pitch (to get out of the inning). It cost me the game.”
Two defensive misplays hurt.
The inning started when left fielder Mark Trumbo couldn’t make a play on Stephen Vogt’s leadoff flare, which turned into a double.
“It’s just seemed to be one of those that I missed by a matter of a foot or two,” Trumbo said. “I felt like the slide, in the worst case I will knock it down and hold him (at first).
“But it bounced up a little higher and caromed off me.”
And the inning should have ended on Josh Reddick’s two-out grounder to first with a runner on second. But first baseman Jesus Montero, after waving off Iwakuma, couldn’t beat Reddick to the base.
“I thought I could get him,” Montero said. “That’s what I was thinking the whole time. I want to make it easy for (Iwakuma).
“He hit it really high, which gave him more time to get to the base. But I thought I was going to beat him to the base.”
Mark Canha kept running and scored the tying run from second.
Danny Valencia followed with a two-run homer that ended Iwakuma’s night at seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“You lose your starting pitcher like that,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, “and next thing you know your down five runs. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep your spirit up.
“The at-bats were good and got better as the game went on. Not only did we have the seven-run inning, but we added on after that. Really one of our better games of the year.”
It got worse for the Mariners before it ended.
Oakland added a run in the seventh on another misplay.
Canha flicked a one-out single to left and went to second when Trumbo’s throw back to the infield was over the head of shortstop Ketel Marte and hopped past an inattentive Robinson Cano at second base.
Officially, it was an error on Trumbo, who called it “just an offline throw,” but the Athletics cashed it when Reddick sent a single into center.
Reddick’s two-out homer in the ninth fueled a three-run burst against David Rollins that closed the scoring.
The Athletics used four relievers. Edward Mujica (3-4) got the victory for pitching two scoreless innings. Drew Pomeranz closed it out in a non-save situation.
Doubront took a Cano liner off the foot in the first inning but worked through the second before Oakland dug into its bullpen. The Mariners immediately jumped Evan Scribner for five runs in the third.
Marte opened the inning with a double and stole third. After Seager struck out, Cruz was hit by a pitch on his right elbow. That extended Cruz’s streak to 34 games of reaching base — the hard way.
Cano lined an RBI single into center for a 1-0 lead, and Franklin Gutierrez followed with a three-run homer over the center-field fence. The 408-foot drive was his eighth homer of the year and fifth in his past 13 games.
The Mariners weren’t done. Trumbo sent a two-out drive to left that remained just fair for another homer and a 5-0 lead.
Then everything went south.
A leadoff floater to left in the fifth by Tumwater resident Vogt fell in front of Trumbo and kicked away for a double. Trumbo appeared to play the ball as well as possible; he just couldn’t get there.
“It was a single all the way,” McClendon said. “(Trumbo) probably slid it into a double.”
Billy Butler’s one-out walk, and Eric Sogard’s two-out single loaded the bases for Billy Burns, who yanked a two-run double to right.
Canha followed with a two-run double just fair past third before the Athletics pulled even on Montero’s mistake.
When Valencia sent an Iwakuma splitter over the left-field wall for a two-run homer, the Athletics led 7-5. Again, all seven runs scored with two outs. Iwakuma was done. So, too, as it turned out, were the Mariners.