SEATTLE — Plopped in his black leather chair, Seattle Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen let loose a couple of what-can-you-do sighs postgame.
He smirked, then offered a mystical explanation for Thursday’s outcome that has been proven throughout time.
“It’s like a baseball god rule: If you walk the batter to lead off an inning, they’re scoring,” Wilhelmsen said.
Wilhelmsen did that in the 10th inning Thursday. To the surprise of no one living in the clouds or sitting in Safeco Field, that runner scored.
The Mariners countered another solid day at the plate with poor starting pitching and not-good-enough relief work in an 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Daniel Nava hit a two-out RBI single off Wilhelmsen in the 10th.
Coming off an inspiring 4-2 trip, the Mariners dropped three of four to the first-place Red Sox despite scoring 30 runs in the series.
That’s primarily because the back of the starting rotation continues to wobble.
Erasmo Ramirez officially was summoned Thursday from Triple-A Tacoma to make his 2013 big league debut. Ramirez had a 3.09 earned-run average in seven starts with the Rainiers. The Mariners hoped he would bring some stability where Jeremy Bonderman could not.
Ramirez arrived in the clubhouse around 10:50 a.m. to hugs and handshakes. Boston leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury greeted him with a home run on his third pitch a little less than two hours later.
Yet, Ramirez sped through the rest of the first and the next two innings. His derailment started in the fourth, when a leadoff walk — that fate-challenging act again — to David Ortiz began a three-run inning for the Red Sox.
Despite teetering throughout the inning, Ramirez was sent back to the mound in the fifth with the bullpen quiet. By the time Charlie Furbush was getting loose, Ramirez again was absorbing blows.
Dustin Pedroia had singled, Ortiz had walked again and Jonny Gomes singled. Ramirez limped through two more batters before being removed. Furbush allowed two hits, then finally picked up the third out.
After a 5-1 Mariners lead was erased for the second time in the series, Ramirez finished with a troubling line: 42/3 innings, six hits, seven earned runs.
“Just (tried to) continue throwing the ball, make quality pitches, but I didn’t,” Ramirez said. “They made me pay for that.”
In the final three games against Boston, Mariners starters had a 14.22 ERA. That more than undid the work of the offense.
Kyle Seager’s second-inning homer allowed the Mariners — 13th in the American League in runs scored — to match organizational history. Thursday was the 19th consecutive game in which the Mariners homered, tying a record set from Sept. 7-27, 1999. The shot also extended Seager’s hitting streak to 11 games.
The Mariners had 12 hits Thursday and 49 in the series. They produced one win.
“Our offense has been a lot better,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s obvious. Fighting and making them work, we did that again today.”
The Mariners scored seven runs off Boston starter Ryan Dempster, who departed after 3 mediocre innings. Seattle amassed leads of 5-1 and 7-4 before being restrained by young knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright. The Mariners didn’t score again.
That was enough to leave Wilhelmsen and others looking to the sky for email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @Todd_Dybas