The Mariners’ four-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt Tuesday night in a 5-0 loss to the Miami Marlins at Safeco Field.
It could have been worse. The Mariners came within two outs of suffering the fourth no-loss in their 41-year history before Mitch Haniger lined a clean one-out double in the ninth inning.
Three takeaways from Tuesday’s loss:
***None is the loneliest number: To paraphrase Robinson Cano, everybody notices when you get no-hit. But get just one hit, and it’s only another loss.
That Mariners had no answers for Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen is disappointing, but it happens. The takeaway, though, is it was just a bad night and you move on. This wasn’t the type of loss that sticks with a team.
Blowing a six-run lead in the ninth inning, as the Mariners did on April 9 at Anaheim — that’s a bad loss. Even Yovani Gallardo’s last start, when the Mariners blew a five-run lead in a 10-5 loss to Houston, was worse than Tuesday.
The Mariners were never in Tuesday’s game. They fell into an early 4-0 hole behind an ineffective Gallardo and got beat. If they had lost 5-2 while getting six hits, the carry-over effect would have been much the same. A loss.
Had it been a no-hitter? That would have been different.
***Gallardo deserved better, but…: While Gallardo wasn’t sharp, especially over the first few innings, he didn’t pitch as poorly as his line indicates. The Marlins had more than a few doinks and well-placed grounders.
The Mariners had some similar hits Monday in a 6-1 victory over Miami in the series opener. Also, Gallardo steadied and lasted through six innings. He didn’t blow a hole in the bullpen.
That said, it was a disappointing effort. Manager Scott Servais noted afterward that Gallardo needs to do a better job of mixing speeds in order to make his stuff play up. Gallardo is a veteran who should do this naturally.
The bar isn’t particularly high for Gallardo. He’s the No. 5 starter and, as such, four runs in six innings is borderline acceptable. The rub is he’s capable of more.
***Wake up the bats: It might be unfair to point fingers at anyone in the lineup after a game in which the Mariners got one hit. Or maybe it’s the perfect time. The point is five of their 12 position players are batting below the .200 Mendoza Line.
What’s more, all three members of their middle core — Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager — are each at .220 or lower.
The Mariners are only 15 games into their season, but this can’t continue.
Those most under the gun are first baseman Danny Valencia and outfielders Leonys Martin and Jarrod Dyson. All three probably have a few more games to get going before seeing their playing time reduced.
Shortstop Jean Segura is expected to return from the disabled list at some point this weekend at Oakland. Perhaps as soon as Friday. That will free utilityman Taylor Motter for other duties, including first base and the outfield.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners