The Seattle Mariners put on the latest and largest tying rally in Major League Baseball history on Wednesday at Safeco Field.
But it wasn’t rewarded with a victory.
After 13 scoreless innings, the Mariners fell five runs behind the Chicago White Sox in the 14th before answering with five runs of their own, capped by Kyle Seager’s grand slam.
But in the end, it was the White Sox who finally celebrated a 7-5 victory – 16 innings and 5 hours, 42 minutes after the game began.
“You don’t score any runs for 13 innings, and then you score 10 in one inning. That’s baseball,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “You talk about never being able to figure this game out, that’s a great example.”
Those first 13 scoreless innings matched a Mariners record.
In the 14th, some major league records followed:
- It was the first game in major league history in which each team scored five or more runs in a game after being scoreless through nine innings.
- Seattle recorded the largest rally to tie a game in the 14th inning or later.
- Seager became the first player to hit a tying grand slam in extra innings.
Seager walked to the plate with two outs, the bases loaded and the Mariners trailing, 5-1. On a 1-2 count, he sent the first grand slam of his career into the right-field seats.
“It was definitely a very exciting moment just to tie the game up after being down five runs right there,” he said. “That was very big and very exciting.”
Seager was asked if, given the circumstances, he went to the plate looking to tie it with a single swing.
“I don’t think you can necessarily try to hit a home run off (Addison Reed),” Seager said. “He’s got pretty good stuff, obviously. He’s their closer for a reason. Just trying to put a good swing on a ball and just try to not strike out and just put a barrel on it.
“You got two outs there, you definitely don’t want to end the game on a strikeout. You’re trying to put the ball in play.”
For all of the highlights and heroics of the later innings, the Mariners ultimately traced their defeat to all those early zeros and their many missed opportunities, which wasted the league-leading 11th quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earnned runs allowed) by pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.
Iwakuma allowed three hits over eight innings, retired the final 16 batters he faced, extended his personal shutout streak to 21† innings and lowered his earned-run average to 1.94,
“I’m out there to do my job,” he said through a translator. “I was able to pitch eight innings and not give up the leadoff runner in every inning, so that was good for me.
“I just had to be careful because they have a very good lineup with a lot of power. So it’s keeping the ball down in the zone, and being able to split the plate to each side was very important.”
He walked away with no decision because Seattle (26-34) created opportunities against the White Sox (25-32) but didn’t finish them.
The Mariners reached base in every inning that Iwakuma was in the game, and runners reached third base in the first, second, fifth and sixth. Seattle hit into six double plays.
“We had so many opportunities, we just didn’t execute,” Wedge said. “But you’ve got to love the fight. We were down five runs like that and putting at-bats together and doing your thing, and Seager obviously with a huge hit.
“Both teams were down to their last pitcher. It was a heck of a battle. But I go back to what happened early on with the missed opportunities.”