Mariners fall back to .500 after blowing another late lead

The M’s had a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning, but for the second straight night the bullpen couldn’t hold it in a 6-3 loss.

On Saturday night, the Mariners retired the number of Edgar Martinez in a beautiful ceremony that paid tribute to the past.

“Awesome,” manager Scott Servais said. “The crowd, the turnout, just the whole deal. I couldn’t be any happier for him.”

But …

“Obviously, it didn’t end the way we were hoping tonight,” Servais added.

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No, it didn’t.

The Mariners lost for the third straight game, this time losing 6-3 to the Angels in front of a crowd of 45,388 at Safeco Field. And for the second straight game, the Mariners lost because they blew a late lead, this time because relievers Casey Lawrence and Tony Zych combined to allow five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

The loss dropped the Mariners back to .500, behind the Angels and the Twins in the wild-card standings.

“The story of our season is we have been up and down,” Servais said. “We were on a really good high here. Played great on the road trip. Coming back home, our bullpen, which has been so good the majority of the year, we’ve stubbed our toe. We haven’t been able to get through it.”

There is a lot to unpack from this loss, so let’s start in the seventh inning, the moment the Mariners blew their 3-1 lead.

Starter Erasmo Ramirez gave the M’s more than they could have anticipated: six strong innings in which he allowed only one run.

“Giving us six innings was probably more than we expected going into the game,” Servais said. “But he was on top of his game.”

Ramirez had thrown 82 pitches — the most he’d thrown since early June — and he admitted his command started to falter in the sixth inning.

“My body felt good but maybe my arm was a little down,” Ramirez said.

So Servais had Lawrence pitch the seventh, and he…

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