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Mistakes on basepaths cost Mariners in loss to Kansas City

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais takes the ball from starting pitcher Wade Miley, left, during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals. (Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais takes the ball from starting pitcher Wade Miley, left, during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals. (Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)
By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The acronym is TOOTBLAN. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe not. But the Mariners put it on display Saturday afternoon, and it bit them decisively – and deservedly – in a 5-3 loss at Kansas City.

It stands for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop, and it basically covers all base-running mistakes. That stat might not be endorsed yet by Elias, but you can track the chief offenders on multiple web sites.

So … Saturday’s loss:

The Mariners had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth inning of a tie game against Royals starter Edinson Volquez when Ketel Marte broke from first base on a 2-2 pitch to Leonys Martin.

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez – who continues to torment the Mariners in this series – gunned a throw to second base that seemed certain to nail Marte until shortstop Alcides Escobar dropped the ball.

By then, though, Marte had thrown on the brakes in an effort to get into a rundown. Manager Scott Servais later confirmed the Mariners weren’t trying to steal a run by coaxing a throw to second.

Servais cited “a little confusion there.”

True.

“I thought it was a 3-2 count,” Marte said, “and you saw what happened. I made a mistake. When I saw the pitch, I thought it was a walk. Then I was like, ‘Oh…shoot.’ ”

Best not to give anyone ideas.

Fast forward to the eighth inning. The Mariners now trailed 5-3 but again had runners at first and third with one out, this time against a shaky Joakim Soria.

Kyle Seager had earlier erased a 3-0 deficit with a three-run homer in the fourth inning against Volquez. This time, though, he strayed too far from first base and got picked off by Perez.

“You can’t get picked off in that situation,” Seager said. “He’s pretty special back there, but I obviously got off too far.”

Both threats died soon after the TOOTBLAN mistakes.

“We gave up a couple of outs on the bases,” Servais said. “You hate to see that happen because it doesn’t usually lead to good things to give them outs like that.”

The loss dropped the Mariners back to .500, at 44-44, with only Sunday’s series finale remaining prior to the All-Star break. It was also their 11th loss in their last 12 road games.

“Offensively, the last couple of nights,” Servais said, “we’d been doing some better things in moving guys over and getting them in. Today, we just didn’t execute.”

The Mariners were also hoping for Wade Miley to repeat his late-April form against the Kansas City Royals, an opponent he has generally dominated throughout his career.

That didn’t happen, either.

Miley pitched a five-hit shutout against the Royals in a 5-0 victory on April 30 at Safeco Field. He was also 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five previous career starts.

On Saturday, Miley (6-6) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The first three runs came in the second inning after Miley issued a leadoff walk to Perez, who went to third on Eibner’s one-out double.

Perez scored when Seager mishandled Escobar’s grounder to third and had to settle for an out at first. Successive two-out RBI doubles by Cuthbert and Whit Merrifield extended the lead to 3-0.

Volquez retired the first 11 Mariners before Robinson Cano broke the run with a two-out single past third base in the fourth inning.

It broke the dam.

Cruz followed with a single through the left side before Seager crushed a 0-2 fastball for a 427-foot homer to straightaway center field. That quickly, the Mariners were back even at 3.

“Down 0-2, you’re just in battle mode,” Seager said. “I got a pitch that probably caught a little more plate than he wanted.”

It was still 3-all in the sixth when Miley worked himself into trouble; Paulo Orlando led off with a squib single, and Brett Eibner followed with a walk.

Miley helped himself by turning Alcides Escobar’s attempted sacrifice bunt into an out at third, but Cheslor Cuthbert whacked an RBI single into center that gave Kansas City a 4-3 lead.

Luke Hochevar inherited that one-run lead from Volquez (8-8) to start the seventh inning. Hochevar, Soria and Kelvin Herrera closed out the victory. Herrera pitched the ninth in place of injured Wade Davis.

Perez’s two-out homer in the seventh against Vidal Nuno, which struck the left-field foul pole, provided the game’s final run.

Thanks to TOOTBLAN.

“Unfortunately, you can’t give away outs,” Servais said. “It will catch up to you.”

AP-WF-07-09-16 2327GMT

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