SEATTLE – Another two-game set against the Padres and the same result:
The Mariners, the team with 20 more victories, getting swept, this time at Safeco Field.
For the second time in just more than two weeks, the Padres finished off a sweep of the Mariners, winning 5-4 on Wednesday afternoon. The Mariners might take some solace in the fact that this set didn’t seem to mean as much.
When the two teams met at the end of August, the Mariners were just 4 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot and were seemingly primed to gain ground against the struggling Padres.
Of course, that didn’t work out.
This time, the Mariners entered the set 7 1/2 games behind Oakland for the last postseason spot, with only huge optimists giving them much of a chance to make up that ground in the last three weeks.
They are 9 1/2 games behind Oakland, and the only chance seems to be mathematical, which would have been hard to believe on June 16. The Mariners’ dramatic 1-0 win over Boston that day lifted them to 46-25 and 11 games ahead of the A’s.
But here we are, and the Mariners are heading to Southern California to play the Angels, where it could hardly get much worse than Wednesday’s ugly loss.
The Padres hit a pair of two-run homers off Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc, who got no help from his defense, and were unable to overcome a 5-0 deficit even with a rare scoring outburst.
Seattle scored three runs in the fifth inning, breaking an 82-inning streak of not scoring more than two runs in an inning. Mitch Haniger had a run-scoring single and scored on a groundout by Robinson Cano.
That brought up Nelson Cruz, who punished a Joey Lucchesi pitch, hitting it into the upper deck in left field and giving Cruz the 1,000th run batted in of his career.
That flurry of runs might have been enough had it not been for three errors – two by third baseman Kyle Seager – that led to three unearned runs.
LeBlanc retired the side in five pitches in the top of the first inning, but it was a bit of a struggle after that. Austin Hedges hit a two-run homer to give the Padres a 2-0 lead in the second.
A long two-run homer by Wil Myers gave the Padres a 5-0 lead, but he only hit that inning because Seager had a two-out throwing error, his second error of the game.
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