Plopped in his black leather chair, Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen let loose a couple what-can-you-do sighs postgame.
He smirked, then offered a mystic explanation for Thursday’s outcome that has been proven throughout time.
“It’s like a baseball God rule, if you walk the batter to lead-off an inning, they’re scoring,” Wilhelmsen said.
Wilhelmsen did that in the 10th inning Thursday. And, to the surprise of no one living in the clouds or sitting in Safeco Field, that runner scored.
The Mariners countered another solid day at the plate with poor starting pitching and not-good-enough relief work in a 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Coming off an inspiring 4-2 road trip, the Mariners dropped three of four to the first-place Red Sox despite scoring 30 runs in the four games.
That’s primarily because the back of the starting rotation continues to wobble.
Erasmo Ramirez was officially summoned Thursday from Tacoma to make his 2013 big league debut. Ramirez had a 3.09 ERA in seven starts with the Rainiers. The Mariners hoped he would bring some stability where Jeremy Bonderman could not.
Ramirez arrived in the clubhouse around 10:50 a.m. to hugs and handshakes. Boston lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury greeted him with a home run on his third pitch a little less than two hours later.
Yet, Ramirez sped through the rest of the inning and next two. His derailment began in the fourth when a lead-off walk — that fate-challenging act again — to David Ortiz began a three-run inning for the Red Sox.
Despite teetering throughout the inning, Ramirez was sent back to the mound in the fifth inning with the bullpen quiet. By the time Charlie Furbush was getting loose, Ramirez was again absorbing blows.
Dustin Pedroia had singled, Ortiz had walked again and Jonny Gomes singled. Ramirez limped through two more batters before being removed. Furbush allowed two hits then finally picked up the third out. What had been a 5-1 Mariners lead at one point was eliminated for the second time in the series.
Ramirez finished with a troubling line: 4 ⅔ innings pitched, six hits, seven earned runs.
“Just (tried to) continue throwing the ball, make quality pitches, but I didn’t,” Ramirez said. “They made me pay for that.”
In the final three games of the series with Boston, Mariners starters had a 14.22 ERA. That more than undid the work of the offense.
Kyle Seager’s second-inning homer allowed this Mariners club, the one that is 13th in runs scored in the American League, to match organizational history. Thursday was the 19th consecutive games in which the Mariners have homered, tying a record set Sept. 7-27, 1999. The shot also extended Seager’s hitting streak to 11 games.
The Mariners had 49 hits in the series. They produced one win.
“Our offense has been a lot better,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s obvious. Fighting and making them work. We did that again today.”
The Mariners scored seven runs off Boston starter Ryan Dempster, who departed after three mediocre innings. Seattle amassed leads of 5-1 and 7-4, before being restrained by young knuckleballer Steven Wright out of Boston’s bullpen. They didn’t score again.
Which was enough to leave Wilhelmsen and others looking to the sky for answers.