BOX SCORE: 08.09.14 Post-Game Notes
This game was decided in the top of the 10th inning, but it was lost for the Mariners in the first seven innings — seven very frustrating, unproductive innings.
Sure, Conor Gillaspie provided the game winning score, singling home Jordan Danks with an unearned run in the top of the 10th off of Mariners’ closer Fernando Rodney in a 2-1 loss.
But the difficulties of the first seven innings for the Mariners cannot go unmentioned. For whatever reason, they can’t seem to hit against old friend Hector Noesi, despite watching him get hit and hit hard by just about every team in baseball during his time in Seattle.
Once again Seattle hitters did little against their former teammate, managing just one unearned run on five hits in the 7 1/3 innings when he was on the mound.
That was the root of the loss that snapped their four-game winning streak and dropped them to 61-55 on the season. They are now 1 1/2 games behind Kansas City in the race for the second wild card.
Just hours earlier, manager Lloyd McClendon sat at his desk and rubbed his shaved head something he does in frustration. It was hours before the first pitch of Saturday’s game and his irritation was rising.
He was asked about the Mariners’ previous loss to Noesi and the White Sox.
Back on July 6 in Chicago, Noesi pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing five hits, while walking two and striking out five.
The approach of his hitters infuriated McClendon after that game and was making his blood boil again.
“Listen, I don’t have anything against Noesi,” he said. “I think he’s a nice pitcher. But we didn’t help our cause, not at all. That was one of the worst offensive approach games we’ve had all year. “I think I might have been quoted saying, ‘if we went up without bats, we would have won that game.”
The Mariners didn’t try that bat-less strategy on Saturday. Perhaps the results may have been different. But McClendon wasn’t quite as irritated after this game.
“We hit in some double plays and just couldn’t get the big hit to get us over the hump,” McClendon said. “Noesi’s been tough on us. For some reason, we haven’t been able to figure him out.”
If you add that July outing to the 4 1/3 scoreless innings he threw against the Mariners as a member of the Rangers in two relief appearances back in April, Noesi had a run of 11 scoreless innings pitched against Seattle coming into the game. That number grew to 12 then 13 as he continued to frustrate Mariners hitters.
Seattle finally scored against him after 14 2/3 innings, though he wasn’t charged with an earned run. In the fourth inning, Robinson Cano reached on an error by second baseman Gordon Beckham Kendrys Morales singled to left field to put runners on the corners with two outs. Kyle Seager delivered, pulling a sharp ground ball just inside the first base bag for a run-scoring double. Noesi then walked Mike Zunino to load the bases. But Logan Morrison couldn’t capitalize, grounding out to first to end the inning.
Noesi pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up the one unearned run on five hits with walk and two and four strikeouts. The Mariners hit about two balls hard against him.
“It was the same thing we’ve seen every time we faced him,” Cano said. “He pitched good. You have to give him credit. He’s just one of those guys that pitches good against us more than any other team. We just have to come back tomorrow.”
Said White Sox manager Robin Ventura: This is as good as he had pitched for us. I think he was throwing strikes, getting ahead early. I think when you see the way the Mariners have been playing lately – they’ve been playing pretty good baseball. He pitched great. In the eight, wish we could have got through that. Javy [Guerra] and [Eric] Surkamp did a nice job.”
Mariners’ starter James Paxton couldn’t make the slim lead hold up. He dominated for six innings, allowing just four hits.
But after six scoreless innings, the White Sox finally got to Paxton. Jose Abreu led off the seventh with a double down the right field line. He advanced to third on Dayan Viciedo’s fly ball to right field and scored when Paxton left a changeup up in the zone and Alexei Ramirez hammered a double down the left field line.
“I felt much better tonight,” Paxton said. “I just made a mistake and left that changeup up in the zone to Ramirez.”
With Ramirez on second and slew of right-handed hitters coming up, McClendon lifted Paxton for right-hander Brandon Maurer, who dispatched of the next to hitters with ease to keep the game tied at 1-1.
The game stayed that way until the 10th inning. McClendon called on Rodney in the top of the inning and then hoped to win it in the bottom of the inning.
But a costly two-out error with a runner on first by shortstop Chris Taylor on Gordon Beckham’s routine ground ball prolonged the inning. Beckham hit a slow roller toward short and Taylor charged the ball and it skipped over his glove.
“It’s one of those tough ones where you don’t know if you should play through it or try to break down and get rid of it quick,” he said. “I decided to play through it and ended up getting an in-between hope. I should have made the play, obviously. It’s very frustrating. Hopefully I can learn from it.”
Gillaspie made it hurt, driving home Jordan Danks with the go ahead run.
McClendon wouldn’t place the blame on Taylor. Errors happen, particularly with rookie shortstops.
“It’s baseball, it happens,” McClendon said. “I told him if he’s lucky enough to play this game a long time, he’ll make a lot more of those errors. That’s just the way it goes.”
The Mariners got the tying run on base in the bottom of the 10th inning on Logan Morrison’s one-out single. But Taylor grounded into a game ending double play against Jake Petricka, who picked up eighth save of the season.
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