SEATTLE — Six games. Six losses.
The worst homestand the Mariners have ever had.
And what was perhaps most astonishing was that it was capped by a historic battering of ace Felix Hernandez, who didn’t last four innings in Wednesday’s 12-4 defeat to Texas.
After the humbling displays — the game and the homestand — manager Eric Wedge was left begging for leaders to emerge.
“We’ve got a lot of core players in there, some veteran players in there that understand what it takes,” Wedge said, “and somebody’s going to have to have a little bit more presence in that locker room, on the bench, on the field, and it really needs to be multiple people.
“You can’t be at the end of August and have two series like we just had. That’s inexcusable.”
Seattle could hardly have chosen some one better to end the drought than Hernandez, but he has hardly lived up to his royal reputation of late. The 27-year-old has lost in three straight appearances for the first time this season and four of his last five for the first time since 2010.
Eight earned runs allowed were a career worst for Hernandez, raising his earned-run average to 2.97 and dropping his record to 12-8. Nine runs allowed overall were second worst to his 10 given up in a May 16, 2006, loss to Oakland.
“That was embarrassing,” Hernandez said. “Terrible.”
With that start, Seattle (59-73) didn’t even have a chance of salvaging something from a homestand that resulted in three-game sweeps by the Los Angeles Angels then Texas. The Rangers (78-55) had already scored 10 times before the Mariners recorded their first hit, a fourth-inning single by Kyle Seager that was greeted with sarcastic cheer from a Safeco Field crowd of 22,420.
The biggest reason for excitement came after the game, when the Mariners announced they will promoe touted pitching prospect Taijuan Walker from Class AAA Tacoma for his MLB debut Friday against Houston. The official roster move will be made before the game.
Anticipation surrounding Walker might help get the M’s over being swept in a homestand of longer than four games for the first time.
“Overall, we’re still pretty sloppy as a ballclub and not executing, whether it be offensively or defensively,” Wedge said. “There’s no excuse for that at this point and time in the year.”
Texas led 5-0 after three innings but blew the game open with five more runs in the fourth. Hernandez allowed three runs on four consecutive hits before he was mercifully pulled in what matched the shortest start of his career not affected by injury.
Reliever Brandon Maurer gave up a two-run home run to his first batter, ex-Mariner Adrian Beltre, to close the books on perhaps the King’s worst performance.
Hernandez said he felt good physically, but “I was a little bit up. That was the problem. Everything I threw they hit and found holes, and they scored a lot of runs.”
Seager said those types of performance from Hernandez don’t come very often, “but he’s human like anybody else.”
Texas batters enjoyed 17 hits, including three home runs.
Seattle’s six-game losing streak is the team’s second-longest of the season, better only than an eight-game skid May 17-25.
The Mariners offensive highlights came from Dustin Ackley, who doubled and homered to up his average to .406 in August. Seager had his 21st home run of the season, establishing a career high.
Too little, too late. But not something Wedge is willing to concede for the season.
“That team out there is probably going to be defined by the last 30 games,” Wedge said. “There are a lot of good things that have happened, a lot of things have happened that maybe we didn’t like to see at this point in time, but at 30 games you can really make a move in a positive direction.”