Mariners fall behind Brewers early and unable to recover in 7-3 loss

Chris Flexen improves on previous performance but still has issues as Seattle Mariners fall to a strong Milwaukee Brewers ballclub.

The Mariners were in a confident mood, inspired by a four-game winning streak which got them back to .500. The mood soon changed however, on Monday night versus the Brewers.

The Brewers are considered one of the most complete ballclubs in the Majors. They lived up to this billing on a cool night at T-Mobile Park, in front of 14,276 fans.

Milwaukee were deserving of their 7-3 win, in the process giving Seattle a lot to think about. As much as the M’s are one of the league’s better teams, they still have plenty of work to do.

Flexen rebounds to a certain extent

Mariner pitcher Chris Flexen in stride ( credit Liz Wolter/ Converge Media)

Chris Flexen was determined to pitch well, after his previous disastrous outing against the Cubs. And in most respects, he did indeed perform better.

For example, Flexen struck out five batters compared to just one walk, while not allowing any home runs. Ultimately though, it still wasn’t enough on the night.

The 28-year-old started strong, as he cruised through the top of the first. However, this was followed by a second inning where the majority of the damage was done.

While nowhere near as embarrassing as his seven-run third inning versus Chicago, Flexen still struggled. Seven batters came to the plate, as he allowed three runs for an early 3-0 deficit.

In fairness to the righty he did recover, coming through the following three innings in relatively straightforward fashion. However, he then allowed his sixth hit and fourth run in the top of the sixth, to make it 4-1 to the visitors.

As a consequence, it brought Flexen’s evening to an end. Asked about the key second inning after the game, he said:

“Too many pitches and I missed over the plate too much. Just a lack of execution, plain and simple. It’s very frustrating. It sucks putting a team down in the hole like that and having to climb back.”

The former New York Met clearly felt he was letting his teammates down. He said:

“It’s back-to-back outings that’s happened. I’m just not doing a good job of putting us in a position to win.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais was in no mood to pile on a player while they were feeling down. He said:

“Flex has put good stretches together for us, and I think he’s got it in him again. For me, it was a step in the right direction. You look up, the line score is four earned runs, and you’ve got to do better than that, but I thought he threw the ball pretty well.”

Bats struggle versus former Cy Young winner

In fairness to Flexen, the Mariners’ offense was having their own challenges. It didn’t help that they were facing Corbin Burnes.

Burnes is one of the better arms in the Majors, as evidenced by winning the 2021 NL Cy Young. And he provided plenty of problems for the M’s, allowing just three hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings.

Seattle’s first run versus the 28-year-old came courtesy of a Cal Raleigh homer in the bottom of the second, to pull to within 3-1. The other run — a Ty France RBI which made it 4-2 in the sixth — actually came just after Burnes was replaced.

The reason for taking out the two-time All-Star, was because of a left-pectoral/chest-muscle strain. The injury happened during one of the Mariners’ few genuine chances to score, in the fourth inning.

With two runners on base and two outs, Jarred Kelenic came to the plate. His at-bat was cut short however, when Eugenio Suarez was caught in a rundown while attempting to steal third.

Burnes timed the situation perfectly, ultimately resulting in him tagging Suarez for the final out of the inning, He said this was when he suffered the strain.

The early indications are Burnes’ injury is minor, not this was of any concern to the Mariners. With the righty out it could/should have signaled the opportunity to get back into the contest.

Too much to overcome for Mariners

However, Penn Murfee took the wind out of the sails before the M’s could even capitalize. He allowed two hits and two runs in the top of the seventh, to extend the Brewers’ lead to 6-2.

Not that this should be seen as a shot at Murfee, who has arguably been used too much already at this stage of the season. Further, the two runs allowed are the first he’s given up in nine appearances this year.

There was a sliver of hope in the eighth, when Julio Rodriguez hit a solo home run blast to make it 6-3. However, the Brewers added another run in the top of the ninth, to finish the scoring for the night.

The contest was also notable for the end of Kelenic’s hitting streak, at 10 games. He went hitless in four at-bats and it will be interesting to see how he responds, given his recent hot form.

Servais acknowledged his team was second-best on the day. He said:

“Disappointed that we just didn’t play a clean game. And when we don’t play clean, we’re just not going to beat too many teams. (There were) a couple of errors and base-running issues. We’re off to a good start on this homestand, but we didn’t play a good game tonight.”

The Mariners will now look to even the series — and return to .500 — on Tuesday night. It helps that Logan Gilbert will take the mound, as they attempt to force a rubber match for the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

What impact — if any — does Monday night’s loss have for you on the next two games versus the Brewers? How confident are you in the Mariners still winning the series? Let us know in the comments section below.

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