Late mistakes prove costly for Mariners against Texas. Seattle loses fourth straight and can’t capitalize on loss by Minnesota.
In the effort to subdue the slow crawl toward mathematical elimination, the Mariners obviously needed to win on Tuesday night at Safeco Field and continue after that.
But when the Minnesota Twins, who hold the second wild-card spot, lost in New York, and the Los Angeles Angels, the team ahead of the Mariners in the chase lost as well, the importance of victory doubled.
What did the Mariners do in response?
Texas @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
They delivered their own version of baseball self-immolation in a 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
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With the defeat, the Mariners fell to 74-77 and remain four games back in the wild card with 11 games left to play. The Twins have lost four of their last five games to give the Mariners a chance. Seattle has responded by losing its last four games. Wild-card baseball, you gotta love it.
“It’s a disappointing night, obviously,” manager Scott Servais said. “We had a chance to gain ground in this race and we lose another day. You don’t lose ground, but you lose a day. And that’s a big thing right now.”
With the score tied at 1-1, Seattle had the potential go-ahead run thrown out at third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh, killing its best chance to take the lead. It was immediately followed by right-hander Nick Vincent, who had been dominant at Safeco Field much of the season but has struggled of late, giving up two runs in the top of the eighth.
To be fair, Yonder Alonso, who joined the team in August, wasn’t part of the menagerie of mistakes on the bases in the first four months of the season. But he was the guilty party on this occasion.
After drawing a pinch-hit walk, he advanced to third on Mike Zunino’s single to right-center off right-hander Tony Barnette. With runners on the corners, Guillermo Heredia came to the plate trying to find a way to score the not-exactly fleet-footed Alonso from third.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, the Mariners called for a “safety squeeze play,” meaning Heredia would try to bunt Alonso home. Compared to its cousin, the “suicide squeeze,” the play is supposed to be less all or nothing because the runner at third isn’t breaking for home as the pitch is being delivered. Instead, he’s playing…