SAN DIEGO -- In case you wondered, yeah, the Mariners are going to miss Felix Hernandez. With their ace on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in eight years, fill-in starter James Paxton and four relievers got rocked in a 14-6 loss to the Padres on Wednesday night at Petco Park.
It was a rough night for a pitching staff that saw its American League-leading ERA jump from 3.37 to 3.49, even though five of the runs were unearned. The 14 runs and 19 hits allowed were both season-highs by Seattle's hurlers.
Paxton, called up from Triple-A Tacoma when the Mariners discovered Hernandez strained his right calf during Tuesday's pregame work, allowed 10 hits and eight runs -- three earned -- in 3 2/3 innings.
"It starts with starting pitching," said manager Scott Servais. "You've got to get into the game and get going. It wasn't Paxton's night. Obviously not the kind of outing he wanted to have, coming back and trying to impact our club. But we'll see. We'll see where it goes from here."
The lanky lefty was cranking fastballs in the 96-99-mph range throughout his start, but the results didn't match the velocity, as he didn't throw many offspeed pitches early and couldn't command his changeup and curve well enough to make a difference.
"They were just eliminating everything and going after the fastball," Paxton said. "And when I'm doing that, it doesn't matter how hard it is, they can catch up to it here. I need to mix in the other stuff or hit spots with my fastball, one of the two."
"Paxton's always had the ability to drive the fastball in to the glove side," Servais said, "but the ball was kind of running back over the plate a little and running into the barrel. In this league, it's not just how hard you throw. You've got to go back and forth and get 'em off your fastball."
Staked to a 3-0 lead by Robinson Cano's first-inning homer, Paxton gave up six runs in the bottom of that frame. Only one of those was earned, because his throwing error opened the floodgates. Wil Myers turned around a 98-mph heater to kick-start the outburst, and Adam Rosales finished things off with a two-run shot.
In between, the Padres took advantage of a couple of bloopers in front of outfielders as well as Paxton's error when he fielded a comebacker by Melvin Upton Jr., but spiked his throw to second as the ball rolled into the outfield.
"I was just way too amped up," he said. "I was going a little bit too fast and didn't get my feet set to throw the ball. I just tried to do too much and was going too quickly, and that first inning got away from me."
The 27-year-old Canadian gave up three straight singles to open the second as the Padres pushed the lead to 7-3, but he finally settled in. He struck out five of the final 12 batters he faced while allowing only one more run, when reliever Joel Peralta gave up a two-run blast to Alexei Ramirez after inheriting a Paxton baserunner with two out in the fourth.
Whether Paxton remains in the rotation will be an "organizational decision," Servais said.
"I would certainly like to give him another opportunity," he said. "That was not the best of Pax. We know that. I told him, 'We're going to need you.' It wasn't the outing he wanted to have, but it doesn't do any good to go drop your head and feel bad for yourself. You've got to work to get better and get back out there."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.