BY SPNW Staff 09:41AM 08/02/2013

Which Mariners Loss Was Most Dumbfounding?

The Mariners have lost more than 3,000 games in their dubious history, but few ever rose to become utterly dumbfounding. Here are three that did. Vote in our poll here.

Tom Wilhelmsen couldn’t find the plate in the ninth inning Thursday, allowing four runs as Boston stormed back from a 7-2 deficit to beat Seattle 8-7. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest file

With 3,101 losses on the franchise ledger as of Friday, and only 11 winning seasons in 36, the Mariners as a franchise know something about blowing ballgames. Most of the defeats run together, but a few are confounding dumbfounders that leave the observer wondering, “How did that happen?” Such was the case Thursday night when the Mariners took a 7-2 lead into the ninth inning at Fenway Park only to step on a shed full of rakes and lose 8-7.

It was a defeat that eclipsed in infamy all others in 2013 and one, we suspect, that will always rank high on the list of lousy lore in Seattle’s professional sports history.

Without resurrecting and examining the entire galling gamut, we offer three of the Mariners losses for consideration as most dumbfounding. Please take the time to vote and wring out your frustration in the comments section.

A — Rangers 12, Mariners 10, April, 1992. The Mariners, celebrating the start of their first full season of new, local ownership, played the most dubious home opener in franchise history, allowing the Rangers nine runs with two outs in the eighth inning.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen nine runs with two outs in the eighth inning,” complained manager Bill Plummer. Closer Mike Schooler played the goat, giving up four runs, including a pinch-hit, three-run homer.

B — Indians 15, Mariners 14 (11), Aug. 5, 2001. The greatest team in Mariners history inexplicably also had the greatest single-game swoon. Leading 12-0 after three innings and 14-2 after five, the M’s were outscored 13-0 from the seventh through the 11th innings.

On only two other occasions in major league history had a team climbed out of a 12-run hole to win. What made the rally even more astonishing was that Cleveland pulled starters Roberto Alomar, Juan Gonzalez and Ellis Burks by the seventh inning.

The Indians scored three in the seventh, four in the eighth and five after two were out in the ninth, the last three on Omar Vizquel’s bases-loaded triple off closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. On three occasions in the ninth, the Indians were down to their final strike.

C — Red Sox 8, Mariners 7, Aug. 1, 2013. Leading 7-2 in the ninth inning, the Mariners allowed the Red Sox to score six runs on six hits and win 8-7 for their second walk-off loss on the same calendar day (15-inning walk-off loss to Boston occurred in the wee hours Thursday).

After Felix Hernandez departed with a 7-1 lead, Charlie Furbush gave up a solo homer in the eighth, and then relievers Tom Wilhelmsen, Oliver Perez and Yoervis Medina could only record one out among them.

It marked only the fourth time in the entirety of Boston’s long baseball history that the Red Sox won a nine-inning game in which they were behind by five or more runs heading into the ninth: 1931 (vs. the Philadelphia Athletics), 1937 (at Cleveland) and 2007 (vs. the Orioles).


  • SandlotSam

    For me it’s the game in 2001. The 2001 Mariners could wake up at 3am in Argentina and win a ballgame. And yet they couldn’t win that one.

    • Eric K

      Yeah, pretty much a no brainer, a team wins 116 games and loses that one?

      • steverudman

        And to think: The Mariners fell one game short of setting a major league record for wins in a season. As it was, they only tied the 1908 Chicago Cubs.

        • Da Kid

          Yep. That was the game that would have been win 117. Also, not seen for what would turn out to be critical in October was Sasaki’s vulnerability in coughing up the RBI-crushing long ball. Anyone remember the chump who traded Omar, and what the excuse was? (Hint: You don’t have to look very far.)

  • jafabian

    2001. I saw that travesty as it unfolded. I knew then even if they set the record for wins in a season they weren’t going to the World Series unless they did a deal similar to what was done in 1995. Wasn’t surprised that none was done.

    • art thiel

      The 2001 loss was astonishing because of all the great play that preceded and followed it. That makes it a one-off, an aberration.

      Thursday’s game was ghastly because it squandered an otherwise fine game for a young team that followed the 15-inning epic fail. And it repeated a theme of close-game futility from about as far ahead as the Mariners can get in the 9th.

      I’m saying Thursday.

      • jafabian

        I get that, however even before the Thursday game fell apart I was thinking the M’s could blow it. The 2001 M’s had no business losing that game. Four All Stars in the bullpen and a slew of them in the batting lineup. The current team has players barely old enough to go out to a bar.

  • mckoosa

    That 2001 game was on on Seafair Sunday….was at Lake WA watching the Hydro – Blue Angels Show, reporting to others what was happening in Cleveland…12-0,after 3 innings?!……epic….all-timer….went home to watch the replay to make sure that it had really happened…I vote 2001

  • joseph2311

    I was at the 1992 game! Attended that one with my Dad, to catch the new “Safe at Home” Ms. That was the last year of the yellow “S” and (thankfully) Bill Plummer. Silver lining was that disaster of a season ushered in the Piniella era.

    • steverudman

      At least you have a little immunity to these sorts of debacles.

  • Family Man

    2001 – From that point forward every big lead we, or another team has had, I have always pointed back to that game. That was a great team and they still let Cleavland come back and steal that one.

    • s

      Years ago, the Raiders had a big lead in the Kingdome on the Seahawks, who rallied to win late in the fourth quarter. In the locker room, I asked Oakland tackle Henry Lawrence what happened. He said, and it’s true today, “Sometimes, things start happening. And when they start happening, they keep on happening.” Henry explained a lot about sports to me that day.

  • maqman

    It’s a good thing Wedgie wasn’t there, his mini-stroke would have gone maxi. The Cleveland game was the worst ever Ms memory but second all time to the Dodgers-Giants game in New York when Bobby Thompson hit “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World” and cost my Brooklyn Dodgers the pennant in 1951. That really hurt.

    • steverudman

      Agree with you totally.