You wouldn’t know it from the headline, but for the first 72% of this game, it was a really good baseball game. With the Rangers and Mariners tied 1-1 going to the bottom of the 7th inning, the game had seen no walks and just one error (a Joey Gallo mishandle that led to no runs, so no harm). The Rangers had scored their one run on a Gallo home run in the top of the second inning, which tied the game after Jean Segura’s leadoff single led to a run in the bottom of the first on Nelson Cruz’ groundout.
Then there was a lot of nothing baseball that happened. Martin Perez trotted out to the mound repeatedly, allowed a runner or two on base per inning, and then got a pop out or a double play or a strikeout once he got bored with the inning. Then he would turn to his teammates, motion them into the dugout, and they would exit the field, congregate in the dugout, and bounce around off one another emotionlessly until one of them accidentally got pointed up the dugout stairs and meandered to the plate, recording out after out, with the occasional system glitch that put a runner on base temporarily.
And then came the 7th inning. Perez allowed a single, then made a throwing error on what was meant to be a sacrifice bunt by Danny Valencia. Perez’ throw was too far back toward the middle of the field, and Rougned Odor did his best to keep his foot on the bag until the last second, when he flapped his wings to their full reach, floating off the first base bag, and catching the ball, but not for an out.
With two on and no outs, it was time to make a pitching change.
Two batters later, with a run home on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, it was time for another one.
And a sac fly, a walk to re-load the bases, and a 2-run Valencia single later, it was too late for another pitching change, so Dario Alvarez just had to stay out there and wear it. By the time it was all said and done, the Mariners had scored 7 in the inning, taking an 8-1 lead.
Texas did get a Mike Napoli home run in the ninth, the baseball equivalent of a particularly witty insult lobbed at a guy who is walking away after punching you until you fell down.
Perez’ outing was encouraging, despite his throwing error contributing to the losing inning. If last night hadn’t lasted 13 innings and Jose Leclerc’s finger hadn’t been bruised, rendering him unavailable, and if and if and if, maybe Perez doesn’t start the seventh inning, and this game ends some other-how. But tonight, the Rangers struck out 10 times (the 7th consecutive game in double figures, an A.L. record) and the Rangers lost 8-1. They’ll play the rubber game tomorrow: Dillon Overton vs. Andrew Cashner.