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May 10, 2022 9:36 am

Mariners’ offense searches for answers vs. Phillies

The Seattle Mariners sure could use a Cy Young-worthy performance from Robbie Ray on Tuesday night when they play host to the Philadelphia Phillies.

A few runs wouldn’t hurt, either.

The Phillies opened the three-game interleague series with a 9-0 victory on Monday. Jean Segura homered in his return to Seattle, where he played in 2017 and ’18.

The Mariners have lost 11 of their past 13 games and have been blanked five times this season, the most in the majors.

Ray (2-3, 4.38 ERA), who signed as a free agent in the offseason, has yet to show the form that led him to win the award as the American League’s top pitcher in 2021. The left-hander went 13-7 for the Toronto Blue Jays last year, producing a league-leading 2.84 ERA and a major-league-best 248 strikeouts.

He is 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in seven career starts against Philadelphia.

Ray is coming off a 4-3 loss on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays in which he allowed all four runs in the fourth inning — including a three-run homer to Mike Zunino, another former Mariner.

“Robbie did his job (Thursday). He really did,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You look at the inning where he gave up the four runs, and it was a bunt hit, a couple bloop singles and a home run. Then you look up and it’s a four-spot and you’re behind the eight ball.”

That’s a familiar spot for the Mariners, who are 2-12 when scoring three or fewer runs this season.

“I think everything early in the year, everyone seems to magnify it in our game, but it’s a long year,” said Mariners left fielder Jesse Winker, who is batting .200 with one home run and nine RBIs. “There are five months of baseball left.

“I think we’re playing just fine. Obviously, you want to win games. But you go through stretches like this as a team and as players and everything, but for the most part, I feel like we’ve been in every game. It’s all you can really ask for.”

The Mariners could get a boost Tuesday with the return of shortstop J.P. Crawford, who ranks fourth in the AL with a .340 batting average. Crawford, a 2013 first-round pick by the Phillies who was part of the December 2018 deal in which Seattle sent Segura to Philadelphia, missed the past two games with back spasms.

The Phillies collected a season-high 17 hits Monday while winning for just the second time in seven games.

“To come out here and kind of make the first punch is something,” said Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who followed Segura’s second-inning homer with a solo shot of his own. “We’ll try and ride that momentum into the next couple of days.”

Hoskins finished with three hits after entering the night 4-for-35 (.114) in his previous nine games.

“I was actually talking to him about it (Monday) about sometimes how much this game stinks,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “You make hard outs and sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. But it’s the game, and you’ve got to find a way to grind through it.”

Aaron Nola (1-3, 3.38 ERA) will attempt to grind out another win for Philadelphia on Tuesday. The right-hander, who is looking for his first victory since April 8, won his lone previous start against Seattle. Nola limited the Mariners to two runs in seven innings on June 27, 2017.

–Field Level Media

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