The Mariners lose again to the Orioles, who boo them after the 4-1 defeat

The boos began for Jorge Polanco 24 hours earlier, after more plate appearances ended in strikeouts. The boos continued through his first plate appearance Wednesday night, also with a strikeout, and grew louder as his struggles continued to mount.

And when Julio Rodriguez’s weak fly ball was caught in foul territory in the 27th out of a 4-1 loss to the Orioles, the boos — which were momentarily silenced by the cheers of a large contingent of Baltimore fans — could still be heard from several areas of T-Mobile Park. They weren’t just for the struggling second baseman or the stumbling center fielder — the boos were for all of them.

After enduring nine innings of nearly unwatchable baseball, most of the announced crowd of 37,998 stayed to watch the postgame fireworks show. They made their feelings known.

It’s not often that a team leading its division gets booed at home. Well, at least not in Seattle. The Mariners have been beaten by wider margins and have somehow looked even worse at the plate. But the backlash was for more than one loss. It’s been building up over two awful weeks of baseball in which the Mariners have lost 10 of their last 13 games and seen their lead over the Astros in the AL West shrink to two games.

“It’s very easy to get discouraged,” coach Scott Servais said. “And I don’t want that to happen with our club. Players are human, they feel it. They know they’re not performing to the best of their abilities. They know how much they’ve invested in this group.”

So what can they do =

“We’re just trying to stay as positive as possible,” Servais said. “You have to weather the storm. The dust will settle. It will. We have a good team, but right now it doesn’t look that way on paper or what we see every night.”

But what has marked the situation is the way the Mariners are losing. The offense, which was below average even when the team was having success, is worse than abysmal during this stretch.

The Mariners entered the game with a .194/.262/.335 batting line in their previous 13 games, having scored just 44 runs and striking out 29.5% of the time.

The trend continued, as they struck out 13 times and collected five hits. It was the eighth straight game in which they struck out in double figures and the 55th time this season. It was the 30th time they were held to two runs or fewer in a game.

“It’s the same old story: We’re trying to get our offense going,” Servais said. “We’re just not able to do anything offensively.”

The Mariners needed another strong start from Logan Gilbert to make up for his lackluster run production, but they didn’t get it. Gilbert pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Gilbert snapped a streak of five straight quality starts.

“You can’t have perfect pitching every night,” Servais said.

The last time he didn’t pitch at least six innings in a start was May 9 against the Twins at Target Field. He allowed eight runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts. In the nine starts after that failure, Gilbert posted a 2.54 ERA with 48 strikeouts and six walks and eight quality starts.

Gilbert looked strong in the first two innings, retiring six of the seven batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts.

But his performance fell apart in the third inning. The problems began when he went 0-2 against ninth batter Ramón Urías, the older brother of former Mariner Luis Urías, and couldn’t get him out, eventually issuing a walk.

Gilbert came back to strike out the ultra-dangerous Gunnar Henderson, but the third out of the inning wouldn’t come for five more batters.

Adley Rutschman drew a two-out walk, refusing to chase a 3-2 slider just below the strike zone.

It looked like Rodriguez might save Gilbert from imminent doom when Ryan O’Hearn launched a deep slider to left-center field.

Rodriguez ran after the ball, covering 91 feet in just over 4 seconds according to MLB Statcast data, but was unable to complete the play. The ball hit the top of his glove as he slid through the warning track to avoid hitting the wall.

“It was a great effort,” Gilbert said. “Most people probably don’t even get to that level. So I just appreciate the effort. He always covers all kinds of ground, more than most people. He’s supported me many times and he almost did it again. So I really appreciate what he does for us.”

O’Hearn hit a two-run double. The Orioles added another run when Anthony Santander singled to center field. It was the first time Gilbert allowed three earned runs in a start since June 10.

O’Hearn made it 4-0 in the fifth inning, launching a slider over the wall in right field for his 11th.He home run of the season.

Considering how abysmal the Mariners’ offense has been over the past two weeks, a four-run deficit felt more like 40 runs.

Baltimore starter Dean Kremer, a relatively nondescript MLB pitcher sporting an above-average man bun, tore Seattle apart for five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits (a pair of singles) with two walks and eight strikeouts.

The Mariners’ first run came after Kremer left the game and Cal Raleigh greeted his replacement, left-hander Keegan Akin, with a solo homer to left-center field in the bottom of the sixth.


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