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July 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Mariners just couldn’t get baserunners at all in this marathon game

Tough to win a game when you have three hits over the final 13 innings the way the Mariners did tonight. They struck out 17 times — compared to 15 for the Rays — but when you’re the visiting team, its tough to keep giving the other guys walkoff chances.
And the Rays had a few more chances in that 14th as Ichiro had that single drop in front of him, then missed the cutoff man on that throw from right field on the Ben Zobrist double. Justin Smoak had a shot at the ball before it got to the outfield and pounded his glove in frustration as it rocketed on by him.
Bottom line, though? The M’s should have lost this game long before they finally took a 4-3 defeat in the 14th.
The offense we saw in Kansas City went AWOL here after that first inning.
“We played pretty well defensively to keep the score where it was,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “But we just couldn’t do anything offensively in extra innings.”

Truth be told, the Mariners couldn’t do much the final 13 innings, not just in extras. They went five innings without a hit before Kyle Seager singled in the seventh and Carlos Peguero hit that whopping homer.
But you can’t go that long without scoring and last as long as the M’s did on most occasions.
Tom Wilhelmsen would have kept working through the 15th and then Miguel Olivo would have pitched if the game was still going on. Shawn Kelley was not available tonight as he’d felt ill the past couple of days.
We saw some stellar pitching from starter Hisashi Iwakuma tonight. “I think it’s the best I’ve pitched,” Iwakuma said, through interpreter Daisuke Seikiba. “I was able to make good pitches with every pitch I was throwing.”
But it wasn’t enough. Nor were the heoics of Josh Kinney in the 10th, 11th and 12th.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t score a run,” Kinney said. “Somebody was going to score at some point. You see it all the time in games like this. Something happens like that. Tom (Wilhelmsen) looked great tonight.
“We had our chances, too. We hit some balls hard on the screws and didn’t get hits. It just happens. You’ve got to admire our team. We’ve been playing well on this road trip and battling. We just have to keep it going…all in all, we played gutsy ball as a team tonight.”
Kinney had been beaten by a walkoff homer from Billy Butler in Kansas City. He was determined not to have the same thing happen tonight.
“A couple of nights ago, I got beat by a pitch that was kind of a chancey pitch,” Kinney said. “And tonight, I wasn’t taking chances.”
So, he threw Hideki Matsui a slider with the bases loaded in the 10th rather than challenging him with a fastball. Matsui flied out and the game kept going.
Tom Wilhelmsen got through a six-pitch 13th but then couldn’t catch a break in the 14th.
“That’s what you play for,” Wilhelmsen said afterwards. “You like those games, those are fun. Maybe not for half the spectators that left early, but those are what games are about. A competitive battle and grind, grind, grind it out.”
They just couldn’t grind out a run when needed.

Comments | Topics: Hisashi Iwakuma


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