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August 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Postgame blog: Ramirez trying to be more aggressive early

The funny thing is, Erasmo Ramirez picked up his first loss of the season on a night when he pitched one of his best games.

That’s the way baseball works sometimes because as fortunate as Ramirez was to be 4-0 despite a 5.94 ERA, he was just as unfortunate in getting saddled with the loss Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Ramirez allowed two earned runs during his 6 2/3 innings, but Seattle’s offense once again provided little relief in the 5-1 loss.

“There wasn’t much to talk about offensively,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We didn’t do much.”

Which left Ramirez holding the loss.

Ramirez was coming off his best start of the season. It was his longest start of the season (seven innings) and also the only time he’d given up less than three runs.

That had come after getting shelled in his first four starts after getting called up in July. But Ramirez held the Texas Rangers to just four hits in seven innings on Sunday and, while not quite as sharp this time around, maneuvered his way through the Angels’ lineup.

Ramirez said the biggest difference for him now vs. earlier in the season is that he’s trying to be more aggressive early in games. He said he really concentrates now on the first inning, per instruction from pitching coach Carl Willis, instead of worrying about the later innings.

“That’s maybe made me more comfortable now,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez struggled in the first inning against the Angels but settled down after that.

With a runner on first and one out in the first inning, Ramirez jumped ahead of Angels’ wunderkind Mike Trout 0-2. But Ramirez couldn’t finish the job, and Trout blasted a two-run homer.

“I had the count so I have to be sure and don’t make that mistake with a great hitter,” Ramirez said. “There’s no chance he’s going to miss it.”

Yet he settled down after that 26-pitch first inning and hit a groove. At one point he retired nine straight batters and even had three consecutive outs in which he struck out Trout, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

“He was stronger as the game wore on,” Wedge said.

Ramirez should have played Houdini on his final jam in the seventh inning as well. He allowed runners on second and third with one out but got an out at home.

Trouble hit with the next batter: Trout. Ramirez actually got Trout to hit a fly ball to right-centerfield, but Endy Chavez dropped the ball, resulting in an error and a run scored (It should be noted that Chavez also saved a solo home run for Ramirez with a great catch in the second inning).

“There’s no excuses,” Chavez said. “I got to the point, and I’m supposed to make the catch. I didn’t do it.”

The offense also didn’t do much. Wedge said they missed fastballs and chased breaking pitches out of the zone. Nick Franklin’s RBI in the seventh inning snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak. Wedge didn’t sound too pleased with his team’s approach after the game.

The Mariners have scored just one run in the last two games.

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