Justin Grimm stood at his locker and offered no excuses for his performance Tuesday night.
He downplayed the challenges of facing a team for a fourth time this season. He brushed off the notion that the game might have gotten too fast. It came down to one thing in Grimm’s mind.
“Command,” Grimm said. “Just left some pitches up and they got ahold of them, unfortunately. Not much else to say than that.”
Grimm served up three long balls for the first time in his career, didn’t record an out in the fifth inning and took the loss as the Seattle Mariners rolled to a 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.
The night didn’t go well from the start for Grimm.
He got two quick outs in the first inning, and then faced the ageless wonder Raul Ibanez. With a 1-1 count, Grimm threw a changeup down in the zone, but the 41-year-old got to it and sent it into the right-field seats.
“Best changeup I threw all night,” Grimm said. “I don’t know how he got to it.”
Kendrys Morales made it back-to-back solo shots in the first when he turned on a 1-1 inside fastball. But Grimm appeared to settle into a zone after that.
He retired the next six batters, although his 1-2-3 second came on three deep fly balls, but got into more trouble in the fourth.
Grimm started the inning by giving up a double, a four-pitch walk and an RBI double. However, the Mariners managed only one run as Grimm induced three ground balls to minimize damage.
That didn’t carry into the fifth. Grimm allowed a single by Nick Franklin, and Ibanez reached on an error by Ian Kinsler. Morales stepped to the plate, and Grimm decided to start him off with a changeup.
Morales was ready for it, though, and sent it into the right-field seats for his second homer of the night and a 6-1 Seattle lead.
Morales had an RBI single in the sixth off Ross Wolf, matching his career high with six RBIs. It was similar to a night he had with the Angels last season at Rangers Ballpark, when he homered twice and drove in six on July 30.
“You’ve got to tip your hat,” Grimm said. “I didn’t execute where I was supposed to.”
Grimm exited after Morales’ second shot, leaving after 75 pitches and four-plus innings. It matched his second-shortest outing this season, and shortest since lasting only 12/3 innings on June 4 at Boston.
Grimm is 2-3 with a 9.31 ERA over his last six starts. There doesn’t appear to be too much concern, as manager Ron Washington said it’s part of the growing process for a rookie.
Washington likened it to when he played with the Minnesota Twins and Frank Viola lost 15 games in 1983. The next season, Viola won 18 games and was sixth in the Cy Young voting.
“With youth out on the mound, you’re going to get a lot of inconsistency,” Washington said. “They’ve shown they’re capable of pitching up here. We just have to get past the inconsistencies. That’s about it.”
Said David Murphy: “Those types of games are going to happen. As a young guy, you’re going to take your lumps. Battle through them.”
While the game got away from Grimm, the offense struggled to capitalize on opportunities against Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders.
The Rangers made it a 3-1 game in the third when Leonys Martin led off with an infield single, stole second and scored on a single by Elvis Andrus. But the Rangers stranded three that inning.
They had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth, but Andrus grounded out to end the threat. Texas had base runners in the fifth and sixth, but Saunders induced a pair of inning-ending double plays. For the game, the Rangers went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base.
“Saunders just did a good job of not giving in,” Washington said. “When we did hit him, it was at somebody. He threw well tonight. You have to give him credit.”