If you’re counting the runs scored by the Mariners in their four home games, you now need to use both hands. The total up to seven after Monday’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.
The more important count is four straight losses and that, at 2-5, the Mariners occupy last place in the American League West Division. With the exception of winless Minnesota, they also possess the league’s worst record.
So, no, not a good first week.
The bullpen absorbed much of the blame in the three weekend losses to Oakland — and Mike Montgomery let Monday’s game get away after replacing starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who delivered a quality start.
Those four runs proved decisive when Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning on a 402-drive to center.
But the growing concern, even this early, is the lack of production from a lineup that general manager Jerry Dipoto sought to lengthen and strengthen in a series of off-season moves.
Texas starter Colby Lewis (1-0) gave up one run in the first inning but retired 13 in a row before Leonys Martin opened the sixth inning on a grounder to first. Lewis didn’t cover first on the play.
Lewis retired the net two batters before handing a 3-1 lead to the bullpen. The Mariners also failed to produce a momentum-shifting hit after loading the bases in the seventh inning.
By then, the Rangers were playing add-on against Montgomery.
It started well.
Cruz provided the Mariners with something they failed to get all weekend: a base-hit with a runner in scoring position. His two-out double past third scored Seager from second base.
The Rangers pulled even in the second inning on a walk, a wild pitch and a two-out bloop single from Elvis Andrus.
Texas took a 2-1 lead in the third inning after right fielder Seth Smith failed to make a clean pick-up on what appeared to be a one-out single by Adrian Beltre. It was scored a double, which moved Nomar Mazara to third.
Prince Fielder followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers added another run in the fourth on Rougned Odor’s two-out RBI double, a legitimate double, after a pair of ground-ball singles earlier in the inning.
Fielder’s two-out RBI single in the seventh against reliever Mike Montgomery pushed the margin to 4-1. The Rangers put the game away with a three-run eighth against Montgomery,
PLAY OF THE GAME: Second baseman Robinson Cano had a chance to keep the deficit at 4-1 in the eighth when Rougned Odor hit a hard grounder to the right side with one out and the bases loaded.
Instead, the ball kicked off Cano’s glove for what was scored a two-run single. The Rangers added another run in the inning on Mazara’s sacrifice fly.
PLUS: Cruz is showing some punch. His two-out RBI single in the first inning ended an 0 for 16 skid by the Mariners with runners in scoring position. Cruz also hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning.
MINUS: Nori Aoki’s slide carried him past second base in the first inning, which resulted in a caught stealing. That left the Mariners at 0 for 4 stealing on the season. … Right fielder Seth Smith somehow avoided an error in the official scoring when he failed to make a clean pick-up on what appeared to be a single in the third inning, but the misplay led to a Texas run. … Some very liberal scoring by Eric Radovich in awarding hits on plays major-leaguers should make.
STAT PACK: Hisashi Iwakuma had won six straight decisions against the Rangers before Monday’s loss.
SHORT HOPS: Texas catcher Brett Nicholas made his big-league debut by throwing on Nori Aoki on a stolen-base attempt in the first inning. Nicholas also got his first big-league hit with a leadoff double in the seventh inning against Mike Montgomery. …The attendance dipped to 13,468 after three crowds of 30,000-plus for the weekend games against Oakland.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners