Quite the postgame scene here today, with the Mariners scrambling through the hallways wrapped only in towels and carrying soap and shampoo. A raw sewage flood of both clubhouses and the umpires’ dressing room made showering there impossible.
Instead, the Mariners and A’s had to hustle up one floor to the Oakland Raiders footall locker room t get their showers in. The umpires simply went home.
For the Mariners, things were even more frantic because they still had to catch their charter flight to Anaheim. Some players, like pitchers who didn’t throw, opted to skip the shower process entirely. So did manager Eric Wedge, who joked that it’s a good thing his wife was meeting him in Anaheim for the series and that he’d be all ready for her.
There wasn’t much else to joke about postgame. The Mariners needed this sweep badly, had a 2-0 lead and arguably their best pitcher this season on the mound — and flat-out blew it.
The game turned in the second inning, when the Mariners had the bases loaded and one out against Bartolo Colon and failed to add to the two runs already scored that frame. Instead, Josh Reddick made a shoestring catch of a Kyle Seager liner and Mike Zunino held his ground at third.
The Mariners would notch one more hit off Colon the rest of the way — a bloop single in the sixth — and got crushed late by the long ball against their bullpen.
“I think he just got stronger throughout the game,’’ Zunino said of Colon. “He was working the bottom of the zone expanding, trying to do what he likes to do. He threw a lot of strikes, got a lot of outs and a lot of ground balls.’’
Endy Chavez, who had a single that second inning for Seattle’s only two runs of the day, said Colon really didn’t change anything about his game.
“He just kept throwing the same thing,” Chavez said. “A sinker inside, a straight fastball outside. He threw just two changeups to me.”
Chavez added that: “This game was very important because those guys are in first place. We came in in good shape, but they fought today.”
This game was more important for the Mariners than merely gaining ground on an A’s team back to 10 1/2 games up on them in the standings. The Mariners need to get somewhat close to .500 over the next month or so to avoid one of those yearly July 31 selloffs they seemed forever involved in.
Instead of being six games under .500 with a win, they are now back to eight under.
For some reason, this team just can’t close out a series — no matter how good the rotation has been of late.
Today, the starter, Hisashi Iwakuma. wasn’t so good. He kept getting his pitches up and could not make the in-game adjustment. Iwakuma said he felt fine in the bullpen prior to the game and he did get out of three straight jams early on.
But the A’s kept pounding him. They pounded the bullpen pretty good, too.
And now, the Mariners head to Anaheim for four games. They need at leat a split. In reality taking three of four would be great.
No, that will not be easy, especially since it’s now the bottom three guys in the rotation taking the mound the first three days. That’s why holding that early 2-0 lead and building on it were so important today.
That’s why this team’s inability to get it done hurts so much more than just one failed sweep. There have been too many already by the Mariners this year and they are quickly running out of time in their hopes of salvaging a .500 season.
That can change in Anaheim. At this point, it’s going to have to.