ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A routine pop-up behind second base isn’t always that when young infielders are still getting a taste of life in the majors.
And the Seattle Mariners found out the hard way once again in the fifth inning of a 7-1 loss Thursday night to the Tampa Bay Rays as second baseman Nick Franklin got crossed up with shortstop Brad Miller.
A ball dropped between them for a hit, and two hits later Mariners starter Joe Saunders had given up four runs in the inning. The repercussions of the missed play could be felt throughout a silent visitors’ clubhouse in the aftermath of another series that slipped away.
“The ball was, I think, right at me and I just called it,” Franklin said of the Sean Rodriguez blooper. “It was just a miscommunication. It happened.”
Miller said of the play: “It was just a little miscommunication, but you’ve got to have that one.”
Both players said they called for the ball initially, but Franklin was the more demonstrative, waving his arms with authority.
“I guess he broke on it pretty good and when I looked, he was kind of camped under it,” Miller said. “And then I was like ‘Dang! Why’d I call it?’ And then we both backed off.”
Wil Myers followed by drilling a two-run double. Evan Longoria then launched a two-run homer to make it 5-1, and the Mariners were never in it again.
Saunders was lifted one out into the fifth and was clearly frustrated afterward by the missed pop-up.
“That was just one of those turning points in the game where a half-inning before we had the bases loaded and they struck a guy out and (it) gave them momentum. Then we give it right back to them. It was just hard to recover from that. That was pretty much the turning point in the game.”