For those who don’t remember the last three years – or don’t choose to – the Seattle Mariners put together a little reminder against the Texas Rangers.
Two errors, each disastrous. Two hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position. One hanging changeup turned into a three-run home run.
Going into Saturday night 20 games above .500, the Mariners had almost let their fans forget games like this one.
Even in defeat, they had chances – even in the ninth inning – to tie or win the game.
"Uncharacteristic," manager John McLaren said.
Horacio Ramirez continued to pitch his way out of a season-long funk and deserved a better fate. Coming in with a 7.15 earned run average, Ramirez had beaten Minnesota in his last start, then shut down Texas for 4 2/3 innings.
He got a ground ball that should have been the final out of the fifth, but Adrian Beltre threw it away.
Given the chance to pick up his third baseman, Ramirez threw a changeup that did the wrong thing and floated over the plate. Ian Kinsler turned it into a three-run home run that tied the game.
All the runs were unearned, and Ramirez’s ERA dropped to 6.67.
Another Beltre error in the seventh inning set Texas up, and then Rangers catcher Gerald Laird got a suicide squeeze bunt down – despite having the pitch thrown at his head.
"It was either get the bunt down or eat through a straw," he said.
Veteran Rick White was on the mound, saw the runner break from third and did what coaches tell pitchers to do in that situation.
I threw at his face," White said. "Most times, the batter gets out of the way and you make the play at the plate. You look at the replay, Laird’s bat is directly in front of his face when he bunts that ball. He made a great play."
Maybe that’s one of the differences between 2007 and, say, any season since 2003. Even on a night when they don’t hit, field or pitch their best, it takes a great play to beat the Mariners this year.