This one could again be seen coming from a long way off. Long before Yoenis Cespedes took Shawn Kelley over the left field wall in the eighth inning to launch a three-run outburst and seal Seattle’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Oakland Athletics.
It was the fifth homer by Cespedes against the Mariners in the seventh inning or later this season and helped cap his team’s series sweep. Josh Reddick added a two-run homer off Lucas Luetge that same inning for some welcomed insurance.
The Mariners finish the road trip 1-5 and are now 12-22 (.353) since embarking on that road trip to Chicago late last month.
But the story of today wasn’t really the A’s as much as it was the Mariners frittering away a ton of opportunities and leaving starter Erasmo Ramirez in the ridiculous position of being tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh despite his team outhitting Oakland 11-2 at that stage.
The top of the seventh saw the Mariners leave runners at the corners with nobody out as Casper Wells, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero went down swinging against relief pitcher Ryan Cook.
Prior to that, the Mariners squandered a one-out triple by Wells in the fifth inning when Seager struck out and — after a walk to Jesus Montero — Justin Smoak grounded out.
Smoak had two early hits, including one in the third inning to tie the game 2-2.
Prior to that, the Mariners had two on and one out in the second inning when third base coach Jeff Datz waved Smoak around from second on a hard single to right by Carlos Triunfel that was briefly bobbled by Reddick. But Reddick recovered quickly and easily threw Smoak out at the plate.
Seattle had a leadoff double by Franklin Gutierrez in the first inning, but that went nowhere as Wells popped out foul down the right field line, Seager struck out — yes, he did that a lot today — and Montero popped out.
Teams that do that once in a game tend to lose more often than not. Do it two, three or four times, you’re begging for trouble.
The Mariners found some.
In an interesting twist, the A’s are now just 1 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers today, with Texas about to cap a doubleheader against the Angels.
If the Angels win that — they were up 4-0in the first inning last I checked — the Rangers would be just a game up on the A’s with the two teams playing each other to complete their season. That means the Rangers are now in serious danger of missing the playoffs if they lose that series.
It also means the Angels — two back of Oakland for the wild card — have full incentive to go all out against the Mariners these final three games upcoming in Seattle, knowing that Texas has added incentive to beat the A’s and won’t be laying down. Which means, of course, the Angels could still catch Oakland.
What does it mean for Seattle? That the Mariners likely won’t catch any break at all competition-wise before season’s end. A really tough September schedule just got that much tougher.