George Kirby's worst career start, defensive miscues sink Seattle Mariners in 8-0 loss to Guardians

<div>SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Steven Kwan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Steven Kwan</a> #38 of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cleveland Guardians;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cleveland Guardians</a> is beats the tag at home plate by <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Seby Zavala;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Seby Zavala</a> #33 of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Seattle Mariners;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Seattle Mariners</a> during the second inning at T-Mobile Park on April 03, 2024 in Seattle, Washington.</div> <strong>(Alika Jenner / Getty Images)</strong>

SEATTLE - The worst start of George Kirby's career combined with numerous defensive miscues put the Seattle Mariners down early as the game spiraled out of control in an 8-0 loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday afternoon.

Kirby allowed a career-worst eight runs on 10 hits with just two strikeouts and a wild pitch over his 3 ⅔ innings of work against the Guardians.

"They had a game plan," manager Scott Servais said. "They were going to stay super aggressive, they were going to swing, they're going to put the ball in play, which they're really good at, and we didn't make some plays behind him. So it certainly got away from us early and before you know, we were out of the ballgame."

Kirby didn't have his best stuff, but the Guardians also managed to keep putting the ball in play and then the Mariners' defense kicked several plays that allowed the game to spiral away.

Steven Kwan singled on the first pitch of the game, and Kirby hit Andrés Giménez to put the first two runners on base. Jose Ramirez then doubled to the wall in right field to score Kwan as Cleveland took the early 1-0 lead.

While it wasn't the sharpest of starts to begin a game for Kirby, he also didn't get much help defensively from there. On a Josh Naylor ground out to first, Ty France fumbled the transfer as he tried to throw home to stop Giménez, who likely would have scored anyway but it was a sign of things to come.

Jorge Polanco was then unable to come up with a Will Brennan grounder at second base, which was initially ruled an error before being reversed to a base hit. That allowed Ramirez to score for a 3-0 Cleveland lead.

Kirby struck out Bo Naylor only for the pitch to go to the backstop to allow Naylor to reach anyway as well.

In the second inning, France was unable to stop a grounder into right field for a double by Giménez that allowed Brayan Rocchio to score for a 4-0 lead. Giménez then scored on a sacrifice fly to left field as Dylan Moore's throw home was off-target enough to beat Seby Zavala's tag attempt for a 5-0 advantage.

"It's out of character of us, so not really too worried about it. I don't expect that to continue but yeah, that's a tough one," France said of the defensive issues.

Polanco and J.P. Crawford then collided chasing a Giménez ground ball in the fourth inning that led to another big inning for the Guardians. Ramirez doubled home Kwan, Naylor's sacrifice fly to right field scored Giménez, and Will Brannen's RBI single scored Ramirez and Kirby's outing was over before the end of the fourth inning.

"I didn't think he did a bad job," France said of Kirby. "They were swinging at everything. They were dropping hits in left and right and we didn't help him much. He was throwing strikes, and then even when he wasn't they were putting the ball in and so it's just one of those days."

Crawford was shaken up in the collision with Polanco and ultimately left the game in the eighth inning. Servais said Crawford was OK after the game.

Despite all the defensive miscues, none were officially ruled as errors and all eight runs fell on Kirby's shoulders. Kirby had never allowed more than seven runs in a game, which happened once in each of the last two seasons. It was the third time he's allowed at least 10 hits in an outing, with a career-high 11 coming last season against the San Diego Padres.

"Yeah, it's tough when you got a team that, you know, really swings a lot and makes good contact," Kirby said. "And for me, you know, living in the zone a lot, I run into those types of games. So, yeah, it was hard to get in a rhythm but not going to stray away from what I do well and fill up the zone."

Kirby said he felt his command wasn't bad, but he didn't locate as well as he wanted to. A few splitters didn't get the drop he was looking for and led to weak contact base hits.

"They just made a lot of contact today and dropped in the field in the wrong places. And, you know, it's just one of those days," Kirby said.

Meanwhile, the Seattle offense was also a no-show.

The Mariners managed just four hits and three walks off Cleveland starter Logan T. Allen over 6 ⅔ innings. While the did get a runner on base in every inning except the second, they were able to do nothing to string together hits. A leadoff single from J.P. Crawford and a two-out walk from Mitch Haniger in the first inning represented the only time Seattle had multiple base runners in an inning.

"I don't think we've played near what we're capable of offensively yet," Servais said.

The Mariners are now batting just .196 as a team through the opening seven games of the season. They have 74 strikeouts to just 62 total base runners (44 hits, 18 walks).

"One thing we felt really good about this team when we put it together, I thought the lineup was going to be a lot deeper than it had been here in a while," Servais said. "And it looks great on paper, you've got to go out and do it. You know, and our guys will get it done. I really believe it."

Infielder Josh Rojas pitched the ninth inning for the Mariners, which may have been the highlight of the day for Seattle. Rojas got Brennan to ground into a double play to get through the inning clean. It was third relief appearance of Rojas' career with the previous two instances coming with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Rojas capped a solid bullpen effort for Seattle as Austin Voth, Trent Thornton and Rojas combined for 5 ⅓ scoreless innings after Kirby's exit.


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