No Labor Day six-pack for the Seattle Mariners. Their winning streak ended at five games Monday in a 3-0 loss to the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.
The loss also put a crimp in the Mariners’ fleeting hopes of climbing back into the postseason hunt. They now trail the Rangers, who hold the American League’s final wild-card spot, by seven games with 24 to play.
So, not a good day.
The Mariners started the game with a pair of base-running mistakes.
“We ran ourselves out of the first inning,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s something that’s plagued us. It’s something we’ve talked about and worked on. For some reason ... it’s very frustrating.”
The Mariners also saw their fans interfere with an opportunity for first baseman Logan Morrison to make a catch along the wall in foul territory during Texas’ two-run sixth inning.
And they watched reliever Rob Rasmussen permit an inherited runner to score from second base by throwing two wild pitches with two outs in the seventh inning.
Beyond that, the Mariners wasted a strong outing from lefty Roenis Elias (4-8) because they mustered little against Yovani Gallardo (12-9) and the Texas bullpen. Shawn Tolleson pitched the ninth for his 30th save.
The game was scoreless into the sixth inning.
That ended after Elias issued a one-out walk to Delino DeShields, after being ahead 0-2 in the count, by missing on a close full-count curve.
“There was a pitch in there (I thought was a strike) that was called a ball,” Elias said. “The walk just happened after that.”
It then slipped away in a hurry. DeShields went to second when former Mariners prospect Shin-Soo Choo grounded a single up the middle.
When Elias nicked Prince Fielder with a 2-2 pitch, the Rangers had the bases loaded with one out for another former Mariner, Adrian Beltre, who lined a full-count fastball into right field for a two-run single.
“In that situation,” Elias said, “he tends to swing on 3-2. So I tried to throw the ball a little bit outside and up and away. But he put a good swing on it and got the hit.”
It got worse.
Multiple fans with gloves along the right-field line interfered with an attempted by Morrison to make a catch along the wall on Mike Napoli’s pop-up.
The ball fell for no play.
Napoli cashed the reprieve by serving a soft liner into right that Shawn O’Malley appeared to lose in the sun. The ball fell for a single that loaded that bases.
Mayckol Guaipe replaced Elias and ended the inning — thanks to a sparkling play by shortstop Ketel Marte that started a double play.
Want a Mariners’ highlight from Monday? That was it.
“When (Elvis Andrus) made contact,” Marte said, “I never saw the ball. I saw the ball at the last second.”
Texas stretched its lead to 3-0 in the seventh after Rougned Odor led off with a single against Guaipe and went to second on Bobby Wilson’s sacrifice.
When Texas inserted Will Venable as a pinch hitter, the Mariners countered by bringing in Rasmussen. That worked fine initially; Rasmussen struck out Venable.
But Rasmussen threw two wild pitches in the course of a walk to DeShields, which permitted Odor to score. Another wild pitch allowed DeShields to reach second.
“A couple of them got away,” Rasmussen said. “I was maybe trying to do too much. Trying to be too fine, especially after getting to 0-2 on DeShields. I threw two pretty good first pitches.”
DeShields then tried to steal third, was thrown out and suffered a sprained left knee on the slide and exited the game.
Now ... about the Mariners’ first inning: The first three batters reached safely against Gallardo, but they failed to turn the opportunity into runs.
Marte led off with a single but was thrown out stealing. Kyle Seager swung through a pitch, but it was a straight steal that failed.
“They gave me the green light,” Marte said, “and I thought I had a good jump. I went and nothing. Out.”
Seager then walked and went to second on Mark Trumbo’s single. Robinson Cano took a third strike and, with Seth Smith batting, Seager got picked off second and was tagged out when he broke for third.
“I’m trying to get an aggressive secondary (lead) to score on a hit,” Seager said. “I got a little too much (of a lead). My momentum was going the wrong way, and he picked me off.”
So: four batters, two hits, one walk, inning over.
The Mariners didn’t threaten again until the fifth inning, when Brad Miller lined a one-out triple past a diving DeShields in center.
Texas shortened its infield and got exactly what it needed when John Hicks hit a room-service grounder to short. The Rangers trapped Miller between third and home, but he stayed alive long enough for Hicks to reach second.
O’Malley walked, but Marte took a borderline strike on a 2-2 fastball from Gallardo. The game remained scoreless. Until the Texas sixth.
TUESDAY: Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels: 8-8, 3.70 ERA) at Mariners (RHP Taijuan Walker: 10-7, 4.51), 7:10 p.m., Root Sports, 710-AM, 1030-AM