The Mariners ran out of late-inning comebacks Sunday in a 3-2 loss to Texas at Surprise Stadium.
The Mariners scored twice in the first inning and then went into an offensive shell and managed just two hits over the final eight inning.
Texas tied the game on Carlos Gomez’s homer in the third inning after two errors extended the inning and scored the game’s final run on Ryan Rua’s leadoff blast in the fourth inning against Casey Fien.
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"They threw some pretty pitching at us late in the game," manager Scott Servais said, "and kept us off-balance with the knuckleballer (Eddie Gamboa) early. It was one of those days.
"We had been figuring out a way to score some runs late in games. Today it didn’t happen."
The Mariners (15-9) scored seven runs in the ninth inning Friday in a 9-5 victory over Arizona and scored three runs in the eighth inning Saturday in a 6-5 victory over San Francisco. They had also won four in a row.
It started well.
The Mariners struck for two runs in the first inning after shortstop Doug Bernier booted Guillermo Heredia’s leadoff grounder. Heredia went to third on Taylor Motter’s single and scored on Mitch Haniger’s double.
Tyler O’Neill’s two-out squib single produced the second run.
Lefty starter Dillon Overton got two strikeouts with a runner at third base in the first inning, and another strikeout with a runner at third in the second inning.
Texas (9-13-2) then took advantage of two infield errors in the third inning.
First, third baseman Danny Valencia bungled Delino DeShields’ one-out grounder. Second baseman Mike Freeman then dropped a pickoff throw from Overton that would have nailed DeShields and ended the inning.
Gomez followed Freeman’s error with a two-run homer.
"Everybody was thinking curveball on our side," Overton said. "So I threw the right pitch…A little bit lower, and he wouldn’t have hit it. I mean it was low. It was a ball. I still don’t know how he hit it."
Overton appears ticketed for the Triple-A Tacoma rotation. He gave up two unearned runs in his three innings while throwing 40 of 62 pitches for strikes. He struck out four and walked none.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Freeman’s tough defensive spring continued when he committed his seventh error by dropping a pickoff throw from Overton in the third inning.
PLUS: Lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski stranded runners at first and third with no outs by getting two strikeouts and a weak grounder to second He now has five straight scoreless one-inning outings since getting rocked for five runs in his spring debut…lefty Nick Hagadone pitched two scoreless innings.
MINUS: First baseman Dan Vogelbach’s slump deepened when he went hitless in three at-bats with two more strikeouts. His average is down to .226 (12-for-53) with 18 strikeouts…Valencia started at third base for the first time this spring and committed an error on his first chance.
STAT PACK: It was 92 degrees when Gamboa threw the game’s first pitch at 1:06 p.m. Just like playing at Texas in the regular season.
SPRING BATTLES: Motter started the game in left field and finished the game at first base. He looked smooth at both positions. He also had two hits in four at-bats and raised his average .324 (12-for-37)…Fien’s chance to win a bullpen job took a hit by yielding the game-winning homer…Heredia went hitless in four at-bats, although he ignited the two-run first inning by reaching on an error. He’s still hitting .415 (17-for-41).
QUOTABLE: Asked who has the best hair on the club, Overton said: "Probably Motter."
SHORT HOPS: Lefty James Paxton gave up two runs and three hits while throwing 80 pitches over 4 2/3 innings against Hi-A Winston-Salem in the Chicago White Sox’s organization. He also struck out eight and walked two. Paxton pitched in the minor-league game to avoid facing a division opponent, Texas, late in camp. The Mariners will shift lefty Drew Smyly and right-hander Yovani Gallardo to minor-league games Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid facing Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels.
UP NEXT: The Mariners have an open date Monday before resuming their spring schedule at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday against Oakland at Peoria Stadium. T game can be Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
Right-hander Chris Heston is scheduled to start against Athletics righty Jharel Cotton.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 14.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners