But as much as the manager might have wanted to will his team to a victory, it wasn’t going to be easy, not with lefty Cole Hamels, who got a couple of runs to work with in the first inning in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory.
Mariners manager Scott Servais has been around baseball too long to get too low or too high during a 162-game season.
And because of that, he is usually loath to make a big deal about any one game, win or lose. But after losing five in a row and with his team on the verge of being swept by the Texas Rangers and losing all hope in the wild-card race, Servais made a pronouncement hours before the game Thursday at Safeco Field.
“This is a big game,” he said. “I said it, this is a big game.”
But as much as the manager might have wanted to will his team to a victory, it wasn’t going to be easy, not with lefty Cole Hamels on the mound. He pitched eight outstanding innings and Texas finished off the sweep with a 4-2 victory despite the 300th career homer by Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano.
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The Mariners fell to 74-79 and are five games behind Minnesota in the race for the American League’s second wild-card spot.
“There are not many silver linings in this one tonight,” Servais said afterward. “It was a tough night, and it has been a tough six games.”
Hamels (11-4) allowed three hits, including Nelson Cruz’s 35th homer, and one run. He walked two and struck out seven.
“Cole Hamels was very good,” Servais said. “That was the best changeup I’ve seen him have in a long time, and he kept going to it and we didn’t recognize it.”
The Mariners’ James Paxton, making his second start since coming off the disabled list, loaded the bases just eight pitches into the game.
But with one out, he struck out Joey Gallo and it looked like he would get out of the inning when Carlos Gomez hit a hard ground ball directly to third baseman Kyle Seager.
Seager went to his knees, but the ball bounced off his glove into left field. Two runs scored on what was very generously ruled a double and you could sense that nearly every one of the 14,849 spectators at Safeco Field was thinking, “Here we go again.”
“I am sure Kyle would be the first one to tell you that is a play he should make,” Servais said.
The Mariners could at least feel good about the progress made by Paxton, who fell to 12-5. After lasting only 11/3…