Eric Stults, who had never faced the Mariners, struck out a career-high 12 batters, including six of the first 10 he faced, and Will Venable drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the San Diego Padres rallied to defeat Seattle 3-2 Wednesday night at Petco Park. Venable’s walk-off hit drove home Chris Denorfia from third to complete an improbable comeback.
Kyle Banks forced extra innings with a one-out sacrifice fly in the ninth off Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen after Jason Bay had given Seattle a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning with a home run off Huston Street, his sixth of the season.
The Mariners, who split a two-game series with San Diego in Seattle Monday and Tuesday, lost their second in a row to San Diego and fell to 22-31. The loss spoiled an an outstanding outing by starter Joe Saunders, who allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. Saunders has allowed just one run in his past 29.2 innings against San Diego.
Chase Headley hit a 403-foot homer off Saunders in the first inning, but then Saunders threw 6.1 innings of shutout ball after Headley’s blast.
The Mariners evened it up in the fourth when, after Kyle Seager doubled, he came home on a Kendrys Morales ground ball.
In the 10th, Denofria legged out an infield single off Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina (1-1) and advanced to third on Everth Cabrera’s bloop single past second base. After the Mariners intentionally walked Headley, Venable’s single to right scored the winning run.
The Mariners had another poor offensive performance, scratching out just four hits, including Nick Franklin’s first hit of his major league career. Franklin finished 1-for-4.
The Mariners conclude the two-game series with San Diego Thursday, starting at 12:40 p.m. Felix Hernandez (5-4, 2.51) will oppose Andrew Cashner (4-2, 3.38). The Mariners will begin a three-game series in Minnesota Friday.