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Lack of offense, poor defense costly for Mariners

By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – It isn’t just a snooze-susceptible attack the Seattle Mariners need to address. Their concept of re-gifting requires some work.

One night after capitalizing on a defensive misplay for a victory, the Mariners reversed roles Thursday night in a 7-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Safeco Field.

Shortstop Brad Miller fumbled the glove-hand exchange on a potential double-play grounder in the second inning – and the Giants went on to score three runs.

“Good pitch (from Mariners starter Mike Montgomery),” Miller said. “The pitch we needed. Perfect feed. On the exchange, (I) just bobbled it.”

That was enough, really, because the Mariners’ punchless lineup was more short-handed than usual after second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager were late scratches.

Cano is battling stiffness in his lower back, while Seager shows symptoms of food poisoning. Losing two infielders meant outfielder Dustin Ackley played second base for the first time since Sept. 21, 2013.

“We sent Seager home with IV bags and medicine,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Robby wrenched his back pretty good. And, really, I probably shouldn’t have played (Nelson) Cruz. He was throwing up as well right before the game.”

McClendon said he hoped all three would be ready to play tonight against Houston.

This loss came one night after the Mariners, behind Felix Hernandez, beat Madison Bumgarner 2-0 in large part because Giants center fielder Angel Pagan short-armed a fly ball that turned into an RBI triple.

And here, until the eighth, the Giants’ three-run second inning was the game’s only scoring. Then Tom Wilhelmsen absorbed his second rough ride in three days.

Wilhelmsen replaced Montgomery after Pagan’s one-out single in the eighth inning. Wilhelmsen walked Buster Posey before yielding a triple to Matt Duffy.

That was really it, although the Giants scored two more runs before Joe Beimel could end the inning.

Wilhelmsen gave up three runs Tuesday in the eighth inning when the Giants turned a one-run lead into a 6-2 victory in San Francisco. His ERA spiked from 1.96 to 4.19 in those two outings.

The sum is the Mariners settled for a 2-2 split in their two-and-two series against the Giants after winning the first game in each city.

It also means the Mariners, at 30-37, are 9 1/2 games behind first-place Houston, which arrives today for a three-game weekend series at Safeco.

The math is getting grim.

Vogelsong (5-5) gave up just one hit, a bloop single by Cruz in the first inning, before exiting after a pair of two-out singles in the seventh. Javier Lopez stranded both runners.

“He had good stuff,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “93 (mph) when he needed it and really good command with a lot of called strikeouts. I thought he had a good breaking ball, changeup, everything.”

The Giants closed out their shutout victory with one inning apiece from Hunter Strickland and Jeremy Affeldt.

Montgomery (1-2) deserved far better than a line showing four runs in 7 1/3 innings, although he set himself up for trouble in the second inning by walking Brandon Belt after being ahead 1-2 in the count.

Singles by Andrew Susac and Justin Maxwell loaded the bases.

Even so, Montgomery should have gotten away clean when Joaquin Arias hit a grounder to Ackley, who made a routine flip to Miller for what should have been a double play.

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