HOUSTON — Battered and bruised Mariners starter Joe Saunders’ words for the day summed up his team’s catastrophe of a road trip.
“It was just a bad day, that’s all I’m going to say,” Saunders said.
Indeed, this 10-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday represented yet another bad day in what’s becoming a nightmare 2013 campaign for the Mariners. It was bad enough that manager Eric Wedge, his patience visibly wearing thin the past week, let fly on his players in the clubhouse after this fifth loss in six games to end the road trip.
It wasn’t so much the beating his players took in front of 11,686 at Minute Maid Park thanks to home runs by Chris Carter, Ronny Cedeno and Brandon Laird off Saunders. More the way his 8-15 team once again gave away early at-bats and looked flat and disinterested at times.
“I talked to them a little bit after the game today,” Wedge, his face redder than normal, said afterward. “I had a few things I wanted to relay to them, but I’ll keep that between us.”
Wedge, however, wasn’t shy about sharing what he thought about the performance. The Mariners were down 10-1 heading into the ninth before a home run by Justin Smoak and then a run-scoring single by Robert Andino made the final score a bit closer.
“I felt like there were some points in time where we didn’t put up the types of at-bats you like to see,” he said. “I still feel good about a couple of these guys. I think they’re headed in the right direction. That’s the positives. … There are some good things to pull from this, but overall when you get beat like that, when you’ve got a chance to win a series, it’s just something we’ve got to do a lot better with.”
The Mariners had runners at the corners in the second inning after a single that was the first of three hits by an improving Dustin Ackley. But Andino went down swinging to end the rally.
Carter homered off Saunders after that to open the scoring and then Cedeno, a former Mariners infielder, hit a three-run shot to left in the fourth to make it a 4-0 game.
Ackley reached on an infield hit with one out in the fifth, only to have Andino ground into an inning-ending double play.
“We had some poor at-bats early when we had a chance to put an inning together and do some things,” Wedge said. “That’s where we have to be better at stringing it along.”