SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners (13-6) lost their fourth consecutive game in a 6-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday night at at T-Mobile Park.
Here are three takeaways from the loss.
1. KIKUCHI STILL WINLESS
Five starts into his MLB career, Yusei Kikuchi is still searching for his first win.
The rookie left-hander, who has given up 13 of his 17 runs allowed this season in the first three innings, again got off to a slow start Monday night against the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Hanley Ramirez and Jason Kipnis, and Jose Ramirez launched a home run into the left field bleachers in the third, giving the Indians an early three-run cushion.
“These last three starts I’ve been giving up runs at the early parts of the game,” Kikuchi said through interpreter Justin Novak. “I am going through scouting reports, and I am preparing myself for the game, but that’s something I need to work on moving forward.”
Kikuchi (0-1, 4.23 ERA) settled in well by the fourth, but Seattle’s offense stalled in the loss. Following Jose Ramirez’s solo shot, Kikuchi retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced, including collecting four of his five strikeouts in his final three innings. Through six innings pitched, he allowed the three earned runs on five hits, and walked three.
2. ROUGH NUMBERS
Through the first three weeks of the regular season, the Mariners have led the majors in several offensive categories.
But, they also currently lead the majors in some categories that aren’t as favorable — offensive strikeouts and defensive errors. Both factored into Monday’s loss.
The Mariners struck out 12 times against the Indians, recording double-digit strikeouts for their fourth consecutive game, and incidentally, their fourth consecutive loss.
Seattle batters have now struck out at least 10 times in 12 of their 19 games. They have a majors-leading 178 strikeouts this season.
Mitch Haniger was fanned by Puyallup High School and University of Washington product Adam Cimber in the seventh, ending a bases-loaded jam. The Mariners trailed 3-1 at that point, missing an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
An inning earlier, after Edwin Encarnacion and Omar Narvaez reached with no outs, the next three Mariners batters struck out — though some of the called strikes registered outside of the zone on the MLB online tracker.
“We’re still grinding through it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “A couple of guys swung the bat well, but up and down the lineup not quite as consistent.”
After the Mariners managed to claw back to a 5-4 deficit in the eighth, Cleveland scored again in the ninth on a pair of throwing errors by shortstop Tim Beckham. The first allowed Carlos Gonzalez to get aboard on a typically routine play. The second, two at-bats later, allowed Gonzalez to score.
Seattle’s 21 errors significantly lead the majors early on this season. The next-worst club is the Chicago Cubs with 15, while four more teams have 14 each.
3. HOMER STREAK CONTINUES
Encarnacion and Narvaez hit a pair of home runs in the bottom of the eighth, extending the Seattle’s record-breaking streak.
The Mariners now have 41 home runs through their first 19 games, an MLB record for consecutive games with a home run to start a season.
After Domingo Santana singled to begin the eighth, Encarnacion crushed a two-run sinker 429 feet to left. The exit velocity on his fifth homer of the season was 109.3 mph.
“After the Encarnacion home run, everyone was pumped up,” Narvaez said.
Narvaez promptly followed with a high-flying long ball to right that nearly scraped the roof. It was his third homer of the season, and cut Cleveland’s lead to one run at that point.
Jay Bruce (seven homers) still leads the club this season, followed by Daniel Vogelbach (six), Encarnacion (five), Mitch Haniger (five), Tim Beckham (four), Domingo Santana (four), Ryon Healy (three), Narvaez (three), Dee Gordon (one), Dylan Moore (one), Tom Murphy (one) and Mallex Smith (one).