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July 19, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Mariners 3, Angels 2 — that’s 12 more innings of baseball goodness

AP photo

AP photo

Box score 07.19.14 Box Score

Not many runs were expected. Not many runs were scored.  With All-Star starting pitcher Felix Hernandez and snubbed All-Star Garrett Richards matching up on Saturday night, hitters for both the Mariners and Angels were in for a long and frustrating night.

Both pitchers delivered outstanding outings, allowing just a run each and a combined five hits in 15 innings pitched. Neither got a win for their efforts.

Why?

Because extra innings are cool.

So after playing 16 innings on Friday night, the two teams felt like that nine innings still wasn’t enough to decide a winner again. Instead, they battled for 12 more innings with the Mariners’ finally prevailing, 3-2.

“Our guys weren’t tired, we were resilient,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.

But don’t expect any extra celebration for the 12-inning win from McClendon, much the way he wouldn’t allow any added agony after the 16-inning loss on Friday.

“Yeah, we won a ball game,” he said. “I mean really. I say this all the time. But it’s hard to win games at this level, regardless of who you are playing. We just happen to be playing the team with the second best record in baseball. Just like last night, we’ve got about five more minutes and then we’ll turn the page for tomorrow.”

Seattle finally broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the 12th, Kyle Seager led off with a double to left-center off of lefty sidearm specialist Joe Thatcher and Logan Morrison scored him, following with a double down the left field line.

“It felt really good,” Morrison said. “It’s my first hit against the Angels this year.”

The Mariners (52-45) added to the lead. Endy Chavez put down a perfect infield bunt that hugged the line and somehow stayed fair for a hit. Justin Smoak later added an infield RBI single with bases loaded to provide an insurance run.

“Yeah, we really crushed the ball there, didn’t we?” McClendon joked.

That extra run would loom large.

David Freese hit the second pitch he saw from Dominic Leone out of the park for a solo home run to start the bottom of the 12th inning to cut the lead to one. But Charlie Furbush came on to get final three outs to get his first save of his career. Leone still got the win to improve 3-2.

“It was two great ball teams going at it inning by inning,” Furbush said. “I was just trying to go pitch by pitch. And I was fortunate to reap the benefits for my first save.”

The Mariners have played 28 innings and nine hours and 20 minutes of baseball in the past two days.

The starting duel lived up to its expectations.

Richards was perfect through five innings, and dominated Mariners’ hitters, striking out five batters and needing less than 70 pitches to do.

But Ackley broke up the perfect game, lashing a double into the gap in left-center to start the sixth inning and later scored on Jesus Sucre’s liner to left.

But that lead wouldn’t hold. Hernandez was a prime part of the undoing. Albert Pujols battled him for an 11-pitch lead-off walk to start the bottom of the seventh.

“I threw everything at him,” Hernandez said. “I was ready to grab the rosin bag and throw it to him. It was a great at-bat.”

Josh Hamilton followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. It was the fourth walk of the game for Hernandez – a season high.

“I was not happy,” Hernandez said. “That’s what gets me in trouble when I walk people like that.”

Then things got a little goofy. Howie Kendrick hit a soft ground ball up the middle. Both shortstop Brad Miller and second baseman Robinson Cano converged on it. Miller went to second thinking Cano would grab it and flip to him. Cano pulled back thinking Miller would grab it, step on second and throw to first.

Instead, Miller had to make a late dive for the ball and then made the poor decision to try and throw to first from his knees when he had no play. The ball bounced past Morrison and allowed the slow-footed Pujols to score.

McClendon understood the mistake, but didn’t understand Miller’s panicked throw to first.

Hernandez wouldn’t let the misfortune slow him down. He got David Freese to hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Kyle Seager to get Josh Hamilton out at third.  Hernandez then got Efren Navarro to ground out and struck out Chris Iannetta to end the inning and his outing.

“After the game, he said that’s, ‘my bad, skip,'” McClendon said. “I asked what he mean, and he said, ‘Well, I walked two guys in a row.’ That’s how good the guys is.”

Hernandez pitched seven innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts on 114 pitches. It was his 12th straight start that he pitched seven or more innings and allowed two runs or fewer – it tied an American League record also held by Albert “Chief” Bender of the Philadelphia Athletics, who accomplished the feat in 1907.  But Hernandez didn’t have a win to show for it.

“I just wanted to get my team the win,” he said. “We needed this win.

Richards was done after eight innings and 98 pitches, allowing the one run on three hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

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