SEATTLE (AP) — With a reliever scheduled to start Thursday, the Seattle Mariners were looking for Roenis Elias to pitch deep into Wednesday night’s game.
The rookie did not deliver.
Command problems plagued Elias in an 8-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, and he was lifted after a career-low 3 1-3 innings.
“I didn’t try to do anything in particular. I was just trying to do what I’ve been doing all year,” said Elias, who gave up seven runs – six earned – and seven hits with three walks. “It was just something I couldn’t avoid tonight.”
After the Cuban left-hander allowed a run in the first inning and ran into trouble in the second, manager Lloyd McClendon had little choice but to let Elias (7-8) attempt to pitch out of his own mess early in the game. Instead, the first five Twins batters reached base safely in the second.
By the time Eduardo Nunez popped out, Chris Colabello had already driven in two runs with a double, and Sam Fuld had an RBI single. Kendrys Morales added a sacrifice fly before Elias got out of the inning.
Due in part to a two-run error by first baseman Logan Morrison, Elias wasn’t able to escape the fourth, forcing the Mariners to rely on three relievers to close out the game.
“One thing we forget with young players, and pitchers in particular – this game can be really cruel sometimes,” McClendon said. “One thing I told (Elias) tonight is, we’ll get through these growing pains. We’ll be there every step of the way. But it was a tough night for him in a lot of different ways. He’ll bounce back.”
Morales drove in three runs to pace the Twins, and Kyle Gibson pitched six shutout innings. Brian Dozier had two doubles and scored twice.
Gibson (8-7) allowed multiple baserunners in three innings and only retired the side in order once. But he worked around seven hits and a walk, rebounding from a rough outing against the Yankees.
It was the seventh time this season that Gibson did not permit a run.
“I don’t think he had his best tonight, but he made do with what he had,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We gave him some support and put some runs on the board so he could relax a little bit and make pitches, and he did that. He got himself in a couple of little jams, but got out of them by making pitches.”
Caleb Thielbar, Jared Burton and Matt Guerrier finished up for Gibson, who gave up six runs (five earned) and six hits in two innings of a 6-5 loss to New York last Friday.
Robinson Cano drove in Seattle’s run in the seventh with a double down the left-field line that scored Brad Miller.
The Mariners had 12 hits but stranded 12 and went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Seattle entered hitless in its last 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
NOTES: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, normally a reliever, will start Thursday’s series finale against Twins RHP Yohan Pino. … Seattle plans to option reliever Stephen Pryor to Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday and recall LHP Lucas Luetge to add a fresh arm to the bullpen. … The Mariners have reset their weekend rotation after RHP Taijuan Walker was sent to Triple-A Tacoma. RHP Felix Hernandez will start Friday against AL West-leading Oakland and will be followed by RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and RHP Chris Young.