June 5, 2013 at 6:23 PM
Mariners find way to tie, then lose game they really needed
This was one of those games the Mariners could simply not lose. And yet, they found a way to do it — though not the conventional way — 7-5 in 16 innings. What hurts so much is that they were down five runs with one out and nobody on in the 14th, yet scored five runs to tie things up, the big blow a grand slam homer by Kyle Seager off Addison Reed.
The Mariners had notched four straight singles to generate their first run on an Endy Chavez hit. Seager then hit his bomb to right center and the few thousand fans still at the ballpark went nuts. Seager becomes the first player in history to tie a game with an extra-inning grand slam.
But it was all for naught. Hector Noesi allowed a leadoff single in the 16th by Gordon Beckham, who stole second base and then scored on a single to center by Alejandro De Aza. Alex Rios later grounded a ball to the left side of the infield and an insurance run scored when the throw bounced y first baseman Kendrys Morales.
The game had tied for the longest scoreless contest in Mariners history once it reached the 14th, where Rios finally opened the scoring with a single to center that scored De Aza.
“It was a tough game, obviously,’’ Seager said. “It was a real good game. A hard fought game. We had some opportunities early in the game where we weren’t able to quite get a run across.’’
Later, he added: “If you look at the big picture, we still won the series. We still took two out of three. It was an emotional game, but we had some emotional peaks there as well. So, hopefully, we can continue over into tomorrow.’’
Thing is, the game should have been long done in regulation after the Mariners put 14 baserunners on in nine innings compared to just four by the Chicago White Sox.
But the Mariners could simply not buy a clutch hit at any point in this game. They hit into five double plays — three on the ground and two in the air — and squandered a leadoff double in the ninth by Nick Franklin. At one point, Michael Saunders sent a bunt dribbling up the third base line that was allowed to roll foul by about a half inch. Had the ball hit the bag, Franklin, who had already reached third, might have scored.
But it went foul and Saunders struck out.
The Mariners won’t get a better chance than this at a series sweep. But they blew it on a day Hisashi Iwakuma was his dominant self for eight innings of three-hit ball.
They blew it on a day the White Sox kept handing them chances to win.
Instead of moving to six games under .500, the Mariners are back to eight under and still spinning their wheels with the Yankees now in town for four games. The time for “shoulda, coulda” stuff was burned up on the last road trip and the one before in Cleveland.
The Mariners have to learn to start winning these types of games on a more frequent basis at some point. Pretty soon, it’s going to be too late to undo the damage. And believe me, there was damage done today. This one really hurt and not only emotionally.
Hector Noesi is headed back to AAA after his arm was spent by throwing 69 pitches over three innings. He was the last man standing and the Mariners rode him to the end.
Now, they’ll have to make a pitching move tomorrow.
And Kelly Shoppach? He’s going to be back in there catching tomorrow after going 16 innings in this one
“You don’t score any runs for 13 innings and then you score 10 in one inning,’’ a head-shaking manager Eric Wedge said of both teams. “That’s baseball. So, when you talk about never being able to figure this game out, that’s a great example. We had so many opportunities and we just didn’t execute. But you’ve got to love the fight.’’
They’ll need some of that fight the next few days as they try to make inroads on a .500-mark that just got a bit more elusive.