OAKLAND, Calif. — Kendrys Morales usually does everything right for the Mariners, as long as it doesn’t involve running the bases.
Wedge to return Friday
OAKLAND, Calif. — Mariners manager Eric Wedge will be in uniform again Friday for the first time in a month. Interim manager Robby Thompson said Monday that Wedge is set to make his dugout return and will do so when the Mariners open a homestand against the Los Angeles Angels.
Wedge hasn’t managed since being diagnosed with a mild stroke after suffering dizzy spells during batting practice on July 22.
“We’ve talked and he will be back,” Thompson said. “In what capacity, or easing into it, we’ll talk tomorrow and then I’ll probably see him maybe on the off-day and then we’ll get a game plan together. But he will be back in uniform on Friday.”
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik had said Saturday that the team was hoping to have Wedge possibly return by Friday if the doctors overseeing his condition OK the move. Zduriencik also said that any return by Wedge would be at full managerial capacity with the expectation he would finish the season.
• Struggling Mariners relief pitcher Oliver Perez says he really can’t pinpoint what has gone wrong for him the past month or so. Opponents had hit .471 off Perez his past nine outings heading into Monday. Perez said it’s a combination of things that have gone wrong — everything from normal bad baseball luck to some poor pitch selection by him and troubles landing a first-pitch strike.
“Sometimes, I’ll be behind in the count and I’ll throw a slider down the middle,’’ he said. “So, it’s just one of those things I’ll have to look out for and get back (to where he was).’’
Perez said there’s nothing mechanically wrong with his pitches and he’s doing his best to stay positive through the rough stretch. The first-pitch strike thing, he added, is something that will definitely have to improve.
“Sometimes, you have trouble throwing first-pitch strikes and that’s probably also why I’ve had a little trouble,’’ he said. “Sometimes, I’ll fall behind and then I’ll leave the ball in the middle. You can’t do that in the big leagues.’’
• Michael Morse missed his second consecutive game, this time for a sore wrist that had bothered him in batting practice.
And on Monday night, Morales was off and running, albeit more like a weekend jogger toward the final part of a first-to-third jaunt in which he was gunned down in embarrassing fashion. The baserunning gaffe, on a Justin Smoak single to right, and some other missed opportunities loomed large by the time this 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics ended on a Brandon Moss walkoff home run in the ninth off relief pitcher Carter Capps.
The Morales mistake, in which he failed to slide despite the imploring of third-base coach Daren Brown – who was shouting “Get down! Get down! Get down!’’ — wasn’t the biggest reason the Mariners took their major-league leading 10th walkoff loss this season. But it was a fitting symbol for why the Mariners keep on losing these games they are supposed to be learning how to win.
“You’re looking at a guy who throws pretty well,’’ Brown said of A’s right field Josh Reddick, who owns one of the strongest throwing arms in baseball. “We know Morales doesn’t run all that well. But that’s probably a ball where he should get to third. But I don’t think, really, that he was expecting to have to slide.’’
After rounding second base, Morales slowed considerably in taking a look back over his shoulder at Reddick. Brown suggested Morales likely thought Reddick would merely concede the base and throw the ball to second.
With bullpen coach Jamie Navarro interpreting for him, Morales said that he never saw Brown signal him to slide and was surprised the ball made it there ahead of him.
“I didn’t realize it,’’ he said. “I didn’t know he was going to have a chance to throw to third. I was surprised about it. My main thing was thinking just to get to third.’’
But he went in standing up and was easy pickings as the Mariners squandered one of their better scoring chances all night. They would waste an even bigger one in the eighth when an error put runners at the corners with nobody out.
But A’s starter Jarrod Parker struck out Humberto Quintero, got Brad Miller to pop out foul to third base and then fanned Nick Franklin. Parker got the win when Moss went out and got a pretty good Capps offering down low, setting off a celebration by the announced crowd of 11,112 at the Coliseum.
The inability to score in that inning meant Mariners starter Aaron Harang was denied a shot at his first victory in a month. Harang allowed a run on five scattered hits over seven innings in the ballpark where he made his major-league debut for the A’s back in 2002.
Afterward, he said a mechanical tweak he made with pitching coach Carl Willis before his last start is now helping him spot his fastball better.
“My first step was getting a little big, so it was making me shift around a lot,’’ Harang said. “I wasn’t staying over my back leg, so I ended up throwing across my body and ultimately, it was affecting how I was locating pitches.’’
Harang had a better curveball this time as well, which helped keep the Mariners in this tight contest between two squads with their share of offensive issues.
Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson wasn’t pleased with the turn of events in the seventh and eighth innings on a night with few scoring chances by either team.
“We had three chances and felt pretty good about it,’’ he said of the first-and-third situation in the eighth. “We had to push a run across that inning and obviously we didn’t get the job done.’’