CINCINNATI — One swing of the bat pretty much summed up, and started, all that went wrong in the Seattle Mariners’ 13-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.
With Seattle leading 3-1 in the fourth inning, the Reds had two outs and a runner on second base. Mariners manager Eric Wedge had starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman intentionally walk No. 8 hitter Ryan Hanigan so he could face pitching counterpart Mat Latos to try for the third out.
Hanigan may have been hitting .197 coming into the game, but it’s common in that situation to walk the hitter to face the pitcher, who is considered an easy out.
It was simple baseball logic used by Wedge.
And of course, it backfired.
Latos jumped on the first pitch he saw from Bonderman — a fastball down the middle — and crushed it into the outfield gap between right and center for a double that scored two runs.
Nothing went right after that. Latos scored moments later on former Mariners prospect Shin-Soo Choo’s single to center and the Mariners would never lead again.
“That’s not the way we had it drawn up there in that situation,” Wedge said. “But it looked like a fastball up and over and (Latos) was ready to hit. He squared it up. That was a turning point early in the game.”
Bonderman was not pleased with the result.
“I gave up a double to a pitcher,” he said. “For me, that’s unacceptable. I know he hits every day, but unacceptable. You got (to) execute. I didn’t. That’s the bottom line.”
Bonderman struggled to get the third out again in the fifth inning.
He got two quick outs, then gave up a single to Jay Bruce, a walk to former Mariners infielder Jack Hannahan and a two-run double to Cesar Izturis.
“He just had trouble getting through innings,” Wedge said. “All those two-out RBIs early on killed us. They were aggressive. They are an aggressive swinging ballclub and they were just squaring the ball up today and hitting the ball (all) over the place.”
Bonderman lasted five innings, giving up six runs and seven hits with five walks (two intentional) and four strikeouts.
“I feel I was throwing the ball well until I gave up that hit (to Latos), and it kind of unraveled from there,” he said. “When you don’t execute, things aren’t going to turn out good.”
His two-out struggles transferred to the Seattle bullpen.
Right-hander Carter Capps, who hadn’t pitched since June 25, came in to pitch the sixth and gave up a two-run double to Bruce and an RBI single to Hannahan. Capps bounced back with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
“It’s been a little while for him,” Wedge said. “That’s why I wanted to send him out for the second inning. I felt like he was a little better there. He’s got to use all of his pitches. He has a great fastball, but he’s still learning how to use it.
In the eighth, Danny Farquhar gave up four runs (two earned) and one of those came with two outs.
In total, the Mariners gave up nine two-out runs for the game.
The Mariners’ offense looked good early. Kyle Seager gave Seattle a lift in the first inning, belting a two-run homer to right off Latos.
“It was good to jump on the board early,” Seager said. “He’s one of the better pitchers going. He has really good stuff. That was my first time facing him, and that’s what guys who had faced him said. I got to see it first hand. Thankfully, I was able to get ahead in that count and put a good swing on the ball.”
But there would be swings and misses that followed.
After Seager’s homer, Latos struck out the next six batters he faced. He would allow two more runs over the course of the next five innings and strike out a total of 11 Mariners through six innings.
“We had opportunities to score runs today,” Seager said. “We got a few runs across early, but weren’t able to do much after that.”
The Mariners struck out 14 times in the game — their most in a nine-inning game this season.