SEATTLE — Far too often this season, a Mariners miscue in the field — and there have been so, so many — has led to unnecessary runs and more than a few losses. Their league-leading 99 errors have led to 76 unearned runs, both tops in all of Major League Baseball.
But on a night where they were facing the Detroit Tigers, a team that somehow has a significantly worse record than them, which isn’t easy to do, the Mariners took advantage of an opponent’s defensive miscue to break open a tie game and roll to an easy 10-2 victory.
“A lot of good at-bats, good offensive night for us,” manager Scott Servais said. “We put a lot of pressure on them.”
The Mariners have won three of their past four games and improved to 43-63, while the Tigers fell to 30-68, which is the worst record in baseball.
The seminal moment came in the bottom of the third inning. The Tigers had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame on a solo homer from one-time Mariners catching prospect John Hicks.
Seattle immediately answered against Detroit starter Drew VerHagen.
Making his first major-league start, infielder Tim Lopes worked a walk in his first big-league plate appearance. Later with one out, the Mariners loaded the bases when J.P. Crawford singled and Omar Narvaez worked a walk to bring Daniel Vogelbach to the plate.
It wasn’t an ideal situation for VerHagen, but he was able to get Vogelbach to hit a ground ball to second base. Given Vogelbach’s foot speed, or lack thereof, it should have been an easy double play.
Instead second baseman Niko Goodrum fielded the ball, tried to tag Narvaez as he ran to second and missed. He then dropped the ball while trying to throw to first to salvage the situation.
A play that should’ve ended the inning instead resulted in a run scored and no outs.
The Mariners made that mistake really hurt when Tim Beckham clobbered an 0-2 hanging breaking ball into the visitors’ bullpen for his second grand slam of the season and a 5-1 lead.
“It was just a breaking ball and he made a mistake,” Beckham said. “I was looking heater. But it was still in the back of my mind. Going into that at-bat, Vogey was like ‘We are going to bust it open right here.’ He got the ground out and I wanted to pick up the team and put a good at-bat together.”
One mistake led to five runs and the Tigers were done.
“You miss a play in the middle of it, and it always turns into something like that,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The ball hit to Niko, he’s just got to get an out. We spent all afternoon, early here, going over and talking about when you’re playing out here and there’s a ball hit and it’s a play like that, that’s going to be one of those wild ones, just get an out. Niko was looking like he was still trying to turn two and rushed the play. The next thing you know a ball goes into the seats. It’s not on Niko that he hung the curveball, but that always turns into it when you miss a play.”
Seattle has felt that pain this season.
“We have found a way to make a lot of those errors this year,” Servais said. “But those plays, they sway the game. You have to make them and we were able to make a few tonight. When they give you an extra out, you have to take advantage of it. We’ve certainly given teams extra outs this year and it’s hurt us. It’s nice get it back at them a little.”
Seattle continued to tack on runs, adding two more in the fourth inning.
After Lopes took a 91 mph fastball from VerHagen off the earflap of his helmet to start the fourth inning, he later scored on Crawford’s triple to the corner. Narvaez followed with an RBI double.
Kyle Seager smoked a solo homer in the fifth inning for his eighth homer of the season and the eighth run of the game.
Vogelbach plated two more runs in the eighth with an opposite field two-run double.
Lefty Wade LeBlanc, who entered the game after two scoreless innings from opener Erik Swanson, put the run support to good use.
After allowing the Hicks homer in the third, he surrendered just one additional run over his next five innings of work. He finished with six innings pitched, two runs allowed (one earned) on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts to improve to 6-3.
Lopes was removed from the game after feeling some discomfort in his jaw area.
The Mariners also had him go through tests as part of the concussion protocol after the game.
A MRI revealed an elbow strain and inflammation for outfielder Domingo Santana. He was out of the lineup for a second straight game. But the Mariners hope to have him start taking batting practice in a few days and then possibly use him as designated hitter. If he still feels discomfort, he will be placed on the injured list.
The Mariners announced that Ichiro will receive the Franchise Achievement Award in honor of his illustrious 19-year career in Major League Baseball. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14, before the game against the White Sox at T-Mobile Park. And, of course, there will be an Ichiro bobblehead that night. The first 20,000 fans through the gates will receive one courtesy of ROOT Sports. It will be part of an Ichiro weekend that features a fireworks night on Friday and a T-shirt jersey giveaway on Sunday.