Mariners' valiant effort comes up short in 16th
Seager hits first game-tying, extra-inning grand slam in MLB history
SEATTLE -- Kyle Seager's grand slam in the 14th inning gave the Mariners extra life, but they eventually ran out of chances in a 7-5, 16-inning loss to the White Sox on Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Hector Noesi took the loss, allowing two runs in the 16th, his third inning of work.
All game long Seattle's offense held back a stellar performance by its pitching staff. But down 5-1 with two outs in the 14th, the offense finally came through with Seager's grand slam off closer Addison Reed, Chicago's eighth pitcher. Seager's slam -- the first game-tying grand slam in extra innings in MLB history, according to Elias Sports -- evened the score at 5.
"I don't think you can necessarily try to hit a home run off him, he's got pretty good stuff, obviously," Seager said. "He's their closer for a reason. Just trying to put a pretty good swing on the ball and just trying to not strike out, trying to put a barrel on it. "
The White Sox loaded the bases in the 15th, but Noesi, the Mariners' last available reliever, got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
After the Mariners were unable to capitalize on eight shutout innings by Hisashi Iwakuma, Chicago finally broke the scoring drought in the14th inning when Alex Rios' single off Danny Farquhar scored Alejandro De Aza from third.
"We just kept battling until the end and we didn't give up," De Aza said. "We didn't give up no matter what happened in the field. We just kept going. I hope this is a new start. Thank God we battled the game and won it and we'll go from there."
With a depleted bullpen, manager Eric Wedge left Farquhar in the game with runners on the corner and no outs. Farquhar loaded the bases by walking Adam Dunn, prompting Wedge to pull him for Noesi. Chicago tacked on another run on former Mariners outfield Casper Wells' RBI single, and piled on two more with Jeff Keppinger's single. Hector Gimenez hit a double to score Wells, putting the Mariners in a 5-0 hole.
"We did a lot to not score runs today," Wedge said. "But looking on the positive side, it would have been real easy cashing in when they scored those five runs there. But those guys go out there and keep putting at-bats together and single after single after single and then the big fly from Seager, you don't see that very often. That's pretty impressive stuff."
The Mariners looked down for the count but singles by Michael Saunders, Kelly Shoppach, and Brendan Ryan loaded the bases. Endy Chavez added a single to drive in a run, keeping the bases loaded for Seager, who came through despite hitting the ball off his foot early in the at-bat. It was the first home run Reed has allowed this season.
"We had so many opportunities, but just didn't execute," Wedge said. "But you have to love the fight, being down five runs like that and just putting at-bats together and doing your thing and Seager obviously with the huge hit, especially after hitting that ball off his toe. He could barely walk."
The Mariners could have ended it much earlier, had they been able to take advantage of a great game by Iwakuma. The starter allowed only three hits -- one in each of the first three innings -- and retired the final 16 batters he faced while lowering his ERA at Safeco Field to 1.08 this season.
"I thought personally that my pitches were all the same as what they usually are," Iwakuma said. "You just have to be careful because they have a very good lineup with a lot of power, so keeping the ball in the top of the zone, being able to split the plate to each side was very important today."
Seattle was unable to convert multiple opportunities throughout the game, going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position until the 14th.
The contest was the first in MLB history in which each team scored five or more runs in the game after going scoreless through nine, and the Mariners became the first team to score five or more runs in the 14th inning or later to tie a game.