KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The acronym is tootblan. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe not. But the Mariners put it on display Saturday afternoon, and it bit them decisively — and deservedly — in a 5-3 loss at Kansas City.
It stands for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop, and it basically covers all base-running mistakes. That stat might not be endorsed yet by Elias, but you can track the chief offenders on multiple web sites.
The Mariners had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth inning of a tie game against Royals starter Edinson Volquez when Ketel Marte broke from first base on a 2-2 pitch to Leonys Martin.
Kansas City catcher Salvy Perez — who continues to torment the Mariners in this series — gunned a throw to second base that seemed certain to nail Marte until shortstop Alcides Escobar dropped the ball.
By then, though, Marte had thrown on the brakes in an effort to get into a rundown. Manager Scott Servais later confirmed the Mariners weren’t trying to steal a run by coaxing a throw to second.
Servais cited "a little confusion there."
"I thought it was a 3-2 count," Marte confessed, "and you saw what happened. I made a mistake. When I saw the pitch, I thought it was a walk. Then I was like, `Oh…shoot.’"
Best not to give anyone ideas.
Fast forward to the eighth inning. The Mariners now trailed 5-3 but again had runners at first and third with one out, this time against a shaky Joakim Soria.
Kyle Seager had earlier erased a 3-0 deficit with a three-run homer in the fourth inning against Volquez. This time, though, he strayed too far from first base and got picked off by Perez.
"You can’t get picked off in that situation," Seager admitted. "He’s pretty special back there, but I obviously got off too far."
Both threats died soon after the tootblan mistakes.
"We gave up a couple of outs on the bases," Servais said. "You hate to see that happen because it doesn’t usually lead to good things to give them outs like that."
The loss dropped the Mariners back to .500, at 44-44, with only Sunday’s series finale remaining prior to the All-Star break. It was also their 11th loss in their last 12 road games.
"Offensively, the last couple of nights," Servais said, "we’d been doing some better things in moving guys over and getting them in. Today, we just didn’t execute."
The Mariners were also hoping for Wade Miley to repeat his late April form against the Kansas City Royals, an opponent he has generally dominated throughout his career.
That didn’t happen, either.
Miley pitched a five-hit shutout against the Royals in a 5-0 victory on April 30 at Safeco Field. He was also 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five previous career starts.
On Saturday, Miley (6-6) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The first three runs came in the second inning after Miley issued a leadoff walk to Perez, who went to third on Eibner’s one-out double.
Perez scored when Seager mishandled Escobar’s grounder to third and had to settle for an out at first. Successive two-out RBI doubles by Cuthbert and Whit Merrifield extended the lead to 3-0.
Volquez retired the first 11 Mariners before Robinson Cano broke the run with a two-out single past third base in the fourth inning.
It broke the dam.
Cruz followed with a single through the left side before Seager crushed an 0-2 fastball for a 427-foot homer to straightaway center field. That quickly, the Mariners were back even at 3-3.
"Down 0-2, you’re just in battle mode," Seager said. "I got a pitch that probably caught a little more plate than he wanted."
It was still 3-3 in the sixth inning when Miley worked himself into trouble; Paulo Orlando led off with a squib single, and Brett Eibner followed with a walk.
Miley helped himself by turning Alcides Escobar’s attempted sacrifice bunt into an out at third, but Cheslor Cuthbert whacked an RBI single into center that gave Kansas City a 4-3 lead.
Luke Hochevar inherited that one-run lead from Volquez (8-8) to start the seventh inning. Hochevar, Soria and Kelvin Herrera closed out the victory. Herrera pitched the ninth in place of injured Wade Davis.
Perez’s two-out homer in the seventh inning against Vidal Nuno, which struck the left-field foul pole, provided the game’s final run.
Thanks to tootblan.
"Unfortunately, you can’t give away outs," Servais said. "It will catch up to you."
PLAY OF THE GAME: Kyle Seager got picked off first base by catcher Salvy Perez in the eighth inning after the Mariners, down by two runs, had runners at first and third with one out.
"Perez made a heck of a pickoff," manager Scott Servais said. "That’s why he’s one of the better catchers in our league. It was right there on the bag."
Perez has an MLB-leading 18 pickoffs since entering the league in 2011. Chris Iannetta of the Mariners and David Ross of the Chicago Cubs rank second in that time span with 11.
PLUS: Kyle Seager’s three-run homer in the fourth inning extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He has multiple hits in eight of his last 15 games…Tom Wilhelmsen pitched one scoreless inning after replacing starter Wade Miley. Wilhelmsen has not allowed a run in 3 1/3 innings over four appearances since returning to the Mariners.
MINUS: Other than the base-running mistakes? Mariners starter Wade Miley has lost four straight decisions…Leonys Martin drew two walks but was hitless in two at-bats. He is in a 5-for-44 slide, which has dropped his average to .240…Chris Iannetta’s average is down to .222 after going hitless in three at-bats.
STAT PACK: Kyle Seager’s 18 homers ties a club record for a Mariners third baseman prior to the All-Star break. Jim Presley had 18 in 1985 and 1986.
QUOTABLE: Dae-Ho Lee left the game after two at-bats and won’t play Sunday because of continuing problems with a bruise on the fleshy part of his right hand.
Lee said the problem surfaced about a week ago after repeatedly getting jammed. He expects to be ready July 15 when the Mariners resume their schedule after the All-Star break.
"It’s just sore," he said. "Two days ago, I couldn’t even hold a bat. The next day, rest, and it was OK. So five days rest, I should be OK."
SHORT HOPS: Nelson Cruz’s double in the sixth inning was his 40th extra-base hit of the season. Kyle Seager has 46, and Robinson Cano has 44. The Mariners joined Boston and Toronto as the only American League clubs with three players who have 40 or more…
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners