ARLINGTON, Texas — Marco Gonzales stalked back to the mound with a look of angry acceptance. His outing was nearing an unexpected early end, and he wasn’t pleased about the events that had gotten him to this point in the sixth inning.
He could only watch old friend and one-time teammate Jose Trevino, the Rangers’ recently called-up catcher and No. 9 hitter, celebrate at second base, gesturing wildly toward his teammates in the dugout. His second double and third hit of the night off Gonzales had scored two runs and provided a lead the Mariners would never overcome in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers.
Gonzales would pitch to one more batter, getting Shin-Soo Choo to pop out to second. At 100 pitches and right-handed hitting Elvis Andrus coming to the plate, he was removed from the game.
Frustrated, his eyes never left the turf of Globe Life Park as he headed for the dugout. Right-hander Erik Swanson struck out Andrus to end the inning.
Gonzales’ line wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t typical of what he’d been since mid-June: 5 2/3 innings, six runs allowed — five of them earned — on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
“I thought Marco was sharp early on,” Servais said.
Gonzales admitted that the sharpness didn’t get sustained, particularly in the sixth.
“I just wasn’t as crisp as I’d like to be,” he said. “I need to put a little more focus on executing pitches and bearing down and getting myself out of that inning.”
For just the second time in 15 starts, Gonzales had allowed more than four runs in an outing. The only other occasion was on July 16 — his first game out of the All-Star break — when he allowed six runs in six innings of work. Otherwise, he had allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of those 15 starts.
There are going to be games like this for any starting pitcher where command, stuff or mechanics don’t feel great for the entirety of the outing. But the Mariners have gotten used to Gonzales keeping them even when he’s fighting through issues.
He just couldn’t do it in the Friday night humidity provided from a pregame deluge. He didn’t get much help from his defense either. Seattle’s infield defense, which had stabilized in the last two months, committed two costly errors. But he wouldn’t use that as an excuse.
“All year long I’ve been trying to focus on what I can control,” he said. “It’s all about making the next pitch.”
And the pitch to Trevino?
It was a 0-2 sinker that stayed up in the zone. Trevino smoked a fly ball well over the head of right fielder Mallex Smith, who seemed to be playing far too shallow for the situation. It scored two runs and providing the finality to Gonzales’ outing.
Trevino came into the game hitting .190 in 17 games this season.
“He was swinging the bat well,” Gonzales said. “I know Jose pretty well and unfortunately he knows me pretty well too. It was just one of those ones where I didn’t execute my pitch.”
Gonzales downplayed the relationship slightly, saying they played summer ball together. That summer ball was on the 2012 Team USA Collegiate Team.
“He’s a smart player and he does his homework,” Gonzales said. “I don’t expect anything less.”
Seattle grabbed a quick 1-0 lead off Rangers starter Kolby Allard in the first inning when Mallex Smith led off with a single, moved to second on J.P. Crawford’s walk, stole third and scored when Austin Nola hit into a double play.
Gonzales gave the run right back in the second. Rougned Odor snapped a 0-for-28 slump, lashing a run-scoring double over the head of Jake Fraley in center. It was his first run batted in since Aug. 19 and first extra basehit since Aug. 15. Of Odor’s 68 RBIs on the season, 18 have come against Seattle.
Trevino’s notched first hit of the game, a leadoff double to right-center to start the third inning. With Trevino on third, J.P. Crawford booted a routine groundball for what should have been the second out of the inning. Trevino didn’t score on the play, but he scored moments later on Wille Calhoun’s sacrifice fly to right field for a 2-1 lead.
Seattle managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth. But it could have been more. With bases loaded, Dee Gordon ripped a line drive that was gloved by third baseman Nick Solak. The Mariners settled for an infield RBI single from Smith.
The Rangers picked up another run in the bottom of the fifth. Scott Heideman and Trevino started it off with back-to-back singles. Gonzales got Shin Soo-Choo to fly out to right.
Heideman tagged up and advanced to third. With one out, Elvis Andrus hit a hard groundball to third. Kyle Seager took a half-step back on the in-between hop.
He wanted to go second in hopes of an inning-ending double play since there was no play at home. Instead, he mishandled the ball, not getting any outs on the play and allowing a run to score.
“I put myself in bad position to make the play,” Seager said. “It was an in-between hop and my only play was at second. I didn’t make the play.”
Down 3-2 going into the sixth, Gonzales gave up a leadoff homer to Danny Santana that made it 4-2. A walk to Odor, a sac bunt and another walk brought Trevino to the plate.
Servais wouldn’t comment on positioning or Trevino’s power on the blast over Smith’s head for the game-changing double.
“He hit the ball over our heads,” Servais said. “It happens once in a while.”
Smith got a run back in the seventh. He tripled to left-center and scored on Elvis Andrus throwing error to third.