BY SPNW Staff 01:58PM 05/17/2012

League Throws Away Game, Mariners Lose 6-5 In 11

Cleveland’s Carlos Santana ripped a bases-loaded, walk-off single off closer Brandon League in the bottom of the 11th, giving the Indians a 6-5 victory over the Mariners in a four-hour, seven-minute fiasco in which Seattle first blew a 4-0 lead and then a 5-4 advantage in extra innings. With the loss, their fourth straight, the Mariners (16-24) fell to 1-6 on their 10-game road trip.

The Mariners took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 11th after Michael Saunders smoked a two-run double, scoring Dustin Ackley from first. But League walked on four pitches the leadoff hitter, former Mariner Jose Lopez, who in the eighth sent the game into extra innings with a three-run bomb off reliever Steve Delabar. Lopez advanced to second on League’s wild pitch.

League fanned another former Mariner, Shin-Soo Choo, but walked Jason Kipnis. Yet another former Mariner, Asdrubal Cabrera, drove in Lopez with a single. League walked pinch hitter Aaron Cunningham, setting up Santana’s game-winning hit. It marked League’s third loss of the year. He didn’t get a blown save because Delabar had already snatched that stat for himself earlier.

Joe Smith, the seventh Cleveland pitcher, was the winner.

Seattle had ample opportunities to put the game out of reach, but the Mariners went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, stranded 11 and whiffed 14 times, including three each by Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi.

The Seattle bullpen delivered an equally lame effort. It gave up five earned runs, wasting the 4-0 Mariner lead Seattle took into the seventh, after starter Hector Noesi pitched his best game of the season, allowing one run on five hits over 6.1 innings.

Noesi came out shaky, survived the first, then walked two of the first three batters in the second. He got out of that pickle as well.

“Noesi was fantastic,” said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. “I was really pleased with the way he pitched. He’s using all four of his pitches. I think he’s gained a great deal of confidence. He just needs to stay in that zone and keep working.”

The Mariners got to Cleveland starter Zach McAllister in the third when McAllister, unbelievably, issued a four-pitch walk to No. 9 hitter Brendan Ryan, in an 0-for-17 slump and batting .137. Ackley followed with a walk. Ryan and Ackley stole second and third. A Saunders ground out plated Ryan for a 1-0 lead.

The Indians loaded the bases against Noesi in the fourth inning. Lopez had a chance to wreak major damage, but hit the ball off the end of his bad and grounded out, ending the threat.

In the fifth, after McAllister walked John Jaso and fanned Mike Carp, he, again unbelievably, walked Ryan on four pitches. Ackley reached on a fielding error by Lopez, loading the bases for Saunders. A passed ball by Santana scored Jaso. Saunders looked at a strike, lined a shot foul down the first base line, and then whiffed for the second out.

Ichiro had a chance to improve on his .202 batting average with runners in scoring position, but hit a weak fly to center to end the inning.

The Mariners got a runner (Seager) to third with one out in the sixth, but Alex Liddi whiffed. Jaso doubled, his fifth of the season, scoring Seager for a 3-0 lead. Then Ryan snapped his hitlessness with an RBI single, plating Jaso for a 4-0 lead.

Lucas Luetge replaced Noesi in the seventh after Casey Kotchman reached on an infield single. Asdrubal Cabrera singled him home, cutting Seattle’s lead to 4-1.

The Mariners got two aboard with one out in the eighth, but couldn’t do anything. Then  Delabar came in, walked Santana and gave up a double to Kotchman. Lopez tied the game with his bomb over the left-field fence.

The Mariners got two aboard in the 10th with one out but couldn’t score.

Friday begins a three-game, weekend interleague series at Colorado. Kevin Millwood (1-4, 5.09) will face Alex White (0-2, 6.75). The Mariners will play  at Coors Field for the first time since 2009.

NOTES: With a first-inning single, Ackley extended his hitting streak to 13 games, longest by a Mariner in 2012 . . . Ryan went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks . . . Alex Liddi made his first start in left field and played without incident. But he whiffed three times . . . The Mariners looked at only six pitches in the fourth inning . . . Ichiro went 0-for-6 for the first time this season.


  • jafabian

    The experiment of Ichrio hitting 3rd needs to end.  It just isn’t happening.  I don’t think he should bat leadoff either at this point.  Put him at the 6-7-8 hole based on his production or lack thereof.  Or even trade him while he has value.

  • Andy

    Time for a new coaching staff

  • Tian Biao

    There’s nothing to be done; a new coaching staff won’t help. We need better players. I’ve never felt so pessimistic about the Ms, and I’ve been following them for a really long time (don’t ask why, i couldn’t tell you). What we need is new ownership; Lincoln and Armstrong are dessicated, emotionless old coots who don’t have any idea what they’re doing, and now the budget is dropping every year, and we keep trading pitchers for guys who can’t hit (montero being an apparent exception), and, well, it’s a death spiral. I hope the old man sells the team, and I never, ever have to see or think about Lincoln and Armstrong ever again. New ownership is a gamble, yes, but who knows, we might get a rich guy who really wants to win. We might also get the second coming of Jeff Smulyan, but at this point, things could hardly be worse.

    • Andy

      I think you are correct on trying to get a new ownership.

    • RadioGuy

      New ownership?  Like George Argyros or Jeff Smulyan were “new owners” when they bought the Mariners? Frank McCourt was a “new owner” when he bought the Dodgers…how’d that work out?  Be careful what you ask for.

      The problem with Mariners upper management isn’t the owners (who’ve been smart enough to sign the checks and largely stay the hell out of the way), but the two dunces they’ve put in charge of things stateside.  As long as Lincoln and Armstrong are given authority over the Mariners, more attention will be paid to distractions like hydro races on the scoreboard or ATV-riding doofs in mascot suits than committing to building a competetive team, which would be the best marketing tool they could have.