Seattle again struggles at plate, falls 3-1 to Yankees
SEATTLE (AP) -- It's quickly becoming the soundtrack to the Seattle Mariners underachieving season.
Another day of missed opportunities. Another game where a slumping offense can't help strong starting pitching.
"We are in a funk offensively. And I'm certain we are going to come out of it," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It sounds like a broken record, but it's tough."
Seattle was unable to solve Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday, the right-hander allowing just one run over seven inning in his return from the disabled list and the New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners with a 3-1 victory.
Garrett Jones and Mark Teixeira homered off Seattle starter Taijuan Walker, who was outstanding for a second straight start aside from the two long balls. But Seattle's inability to string together a series of hits off Tanaka, or capitalize on having the bases loaded in the eighth inning led to a season-high fifth straight loss.
Seattle took a significant step after the loss in trying to find an answer for its offensive problems acquiring slugger Mark Trumbo from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a six-player trade. The Mariners also got left-handed reliever Vidal Nuno and sent backup catcher Welington Castillo, right-handed reliever Dominic Leone and a pair of minor leaguers to the Diamondbacks.
But the priority was landing another bat - preferably right-handed - to try and add length and a spark to the Mariners meager batting order.
"We've always liked Trumbo. I can go back several years ago where we all thought this guy would be a very desirable player to get," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "It wasn't necessarily a right-handed bat. It helps. It's good to have it. It was just to bring someone that has this type of skillset."
Trumbo will join a lineup that could not solve Tanaka. Despite being on an 80-pitch limit in his return, Tanaka (3-1) got through seven innings without even reaching the 80-pitch mark, throwing just 78 pitches in handing the Mariners their fifth straight loss.
Tanaka struck out a season-high nine and had zero walks, going to a three-ball count against only two batters.
"His stuff was really good," Seattle left fielder Dustin Ackley said. "He wasn't leaving a lot over the plate and we had our chances at one point but he kind of worked himself out of it."
The Mariners one chance at a big inning against Tanaka came in the third when Brad Miller tripled and scored on Ackley's one-hop double off the left field wall.
But the rally ended quickly. With one out, Logan Morrison singled to left, but Ackley was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw from left fielder Ramon Flores and Austin Jackson struck out looking to end the threat.
"I think if that throw is either way a couple of feet I think I'm safe," Ackley said.
Seattle loaded the bases in the eighth against relievers Chris Capuano and Andrew Miller with one out behind a single, hit batter and walk. But Miller recovered to strike out Morrison after falling behind 3-0, and got a ground out from Jackson to end the inning.
"We had a real good pitcher on the ropes and we couldn't get a big hit," McClendon said.
Walker was nearly the equal of Tanaka. The young right-hander followed up an impressive eight shutout innings in his last start with another strong eight innings. He allowed just five hits to the Yankees and retired 13 of the last 15 hitters after Jones' homer. Walker struck out seven.
Yankees: Catcher Brian McCann left in the second inning with soreness in his right foot. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday in New York. He was replaced by John Ryan Murphy.
Mariners: McClendon said he's sticking with Fernando Rodney as his closer despite his third blown save of the season on Tuesday night. McClendon said he wants to watch the innings of young right-hander Carson Smith, who has developed into a reliable eighth inning option.
Yankees: New York has a day off Thursday before opening a homestand against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Nathan Eovaldi (4-1) will get the start.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (2-2) tries to rebound from a loss in his last start when he faces Tampa Bay on Thursday.