SEATTLE -- The fourth inning told the story.
Not just the story of Sunday's 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, in which the Mariners dropped their 15th game in their last 18 tries. It told the story of the season. It told the story of a step-back, of a 40-62 team that's about to be sold for scraps at the trade deadline.
Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi kicked off the frame by retiring Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons in order.
(This is the part where the Mariners get off to a deceptively hot start.)
Then Albert Pujols singled on a grounder into the hole that diving shortstop J.P. Crawford couldn't corral, and Brian Goodwin took a 91-mph fastball over the wall in left field for a two-run homer.
(This is the part where the Mariners' pitching falters.)
Then things got weird. Dustin Garneau sent a sharp ground ball down the third base line, and after bobbling it Kyle Seager's throw across the diamond was not in time. Then Luis Rengifo smacked a tailing blooper into shallow right field; Domingo Santana slid and the ball banked off the web of his glove, caroming into the corner for an RBI triple. Then David Fletcher dropped a swinging bunt dribbler to third; Seager's throw was again a step late and Rengifo scored the Angels' fourth run of the inning.
(This is the part where the Mariners' defense disappoints.)
Then, in the bottom of the inning, Seattle catcher Tom Murphy cracked a double over Upton's head in left field that should have scored Tim Beckham from first. It didn't, because the ball took a hard bounce on the warning track and hopped cruelly over the wall for a ground rule double.
(This is the part where the Mariners can't catch a break.)