Sure, the Seattle Mariners scored 10 runs, they banged out 14 hits, including a couple of home runs. Solid production, yes?
Not in comparison to what the Arizona Diamondbacks did Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.
The D-Backs scored 14 runs on 16 hits and pounded out six homers in a 14-10 victory over the Mariners.
For the series, Mariners pitchers gave up 30 runs on 41 hits – 22 of them extra-base hits, including nine home runs.
Of course, Seattle starting pitcher Jason Vargas was the first to say that the ballpark had little to do with Arizona’s offensive explosion.
It wouldn’t have mattered what park he was pitching in – Chase Field, Safeco Field or Yellowstone – leaving the number of pitches up in the zone he did against Arizona hitters was going to lead to extra-base hits and home runs.
“They were all pitches that were up,” Vargas said. “Regardless of the park, I pitched up in the strike zone way too much today. Our bullpen really could have used some time, and you feel like you just let them down.”
Indeed, for the second straight day, a Mariners starter failed to make it to the sixth inning. On Tuesday, Erasmo Ramirez lasted four innings, and manager Eric Wedge needed six relievers for a 12-9 win in extra innings.
Vargas didn’t make it much further. He was knocked out of the game with one out in the fifth inning, having just given up an RBI single to Miguel Montero.
Vargas gave up a season-high 10 earned runs on nine hits, including five home runs. Of the 104 pitches he threw, 55 were strikes.
He gave up solo homers to Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel in the first inning.
But the Mariners’ potent road offense came to Vargas’ aid, scoring five runs in the third inning off Arizona starter Trevor Cahill. John Jaso ripped an RBI double, Casper Wells followed with a two-run single and Kyle Seager punctuated the rally with his 10th homer – a two-run shot deep to right.
“The offense is encouraging, the fight is encouraging,” Wedge said.
But it didn’t matter.
After holding the Diamondbacks scoreless in the second and third, Vargas served up a two-run homer to Montero and a solo homer to John McDonald in the fourth inning, erasing the three-run lead.
Things then fell apart in the fifth.
Chris Young led off with a double, and Vargas walked Hill, who had been wearing out Seattle all weekend. The move backfired when Justin Upton crushed a pitch into the upper deck in center field.
Vargas gave up three more hits and another run before exiting. Reliever Shawn Kelley came in to try to stop the rally, but gave up an RBI single to Ryan Roberts and an RBI double to McDonald – all runs that were charged to Vargas.
It was the fourth straight outing in which Vargas has given up at least four runs and nine hits.
“I’ve said it the last few starts, but an adjustment has to be made,” Vargas said. “I know I said that before, but you can’t keep going out there – regardless if those are the only runs you give up – (and) give up home runs like that.
“It’s not some hidden secret, it’s getting the ball down in the strike zone and finishing guys off when you have the opportunity.”
Down 10-5, Seattle scratched out a run in the sixth on Dustin Ackley’s RBI grounder that scored Seager.
Arizona didn’t just answer in its half of the sixth. It tacked on four more runs. Montero ripped a two-run single off Lucas Luetge. Then Roberts ripped a low liner past a diving Michael Saunders in center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall allowing Roberts to circle the bases for a two-run inside-the-park homer.
The Mariners made things mildly interesting by scoring four times in the eighth inning off Diamondbacks reliever Mike Zagurski to cut the lead to 14-10. The big hit was pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez’s three-run home run.
The Mariners get a much-needed day off to rest their fatigued bullpen and regroup before opening a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Friday at Petco Park.
“Hopefully, the off day gets us back on track,” Wedge email@example.com 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish