SEATTLE – There was bound to be a time the Seattle Mariners would need more than two runs to win. When they played 13 innings Thursday without being able to do that, the result was no surprise.
The Chicago Cubs turned a leadoff walk into the go-ahead run in the 13th when Marlon Byrd grounded an RBI single to right field that beat the Mariners 3-2 at Safeco Field.
While it didn’t spoil the Mariners’ six-game run of phenomenal pitching – Felix Hernandez pitched nine innings for the second straight time – it did stop a six-game winning streak.
And in the process, it offered a reminder of how challenged this team remains on offense.
The Mariners scored on RBI doubles by Mike Sweeney in the fourth inning and Jack Wilson in the seventh, then failed multiple times when one run would have won the game.
They out-hit the Cubs 11-6 but went 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position, striking out 10 times in those situations. Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders each struck out three times.
“The numbers don’t lie,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “The key is the amount of strikeouts we had. We put ourselves in a position to win several different times.”
The most critical strikeouts came in the 10th inning after the Mariners were blessed with back-to-back leadoff walks by Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol.
Jose Lopez, who doesn’t have a sacrifice bunt this season, wasn’t asked to lay one down. Instead, Marmol struck him out.
Wakamatsu called for a double steal on Marmol’s first pitch to Franklin Gutierrez, and Chone Figgins barely beat the throw to third base. Sweeney reached second on that play but, with a base open, the Cubs intentionally walked Gutierrez.
Marmol harnessed his wicked slider to strike out Josh Wilson and pinch hitter Milton Bradley to keep the game tied.
“I couldn’t put the ball in play,” said Josh Wilson, who started at first base for the first time in his major league career. “That hurts. I got two pitches to hit and missed them both.”
Hernandez did his part, holding the Cubs to five hits and a run in the second inning and one in the seventh. He struck out eight, including Derrek Lee in the fourth for his 100th strikeout, giving him at least 100 in five straight seasons.
When the offense couldn’t milk one more run, Hernandez yielded to what has been a little-used M’s bullpen. Only Brandon League and David Aardsma had pitched since June 15.
Aardsma pitched around a leadoff walk to get through the 10th and League did the same in the 11th, then breezed through the 12th with three strikeouts. League has been stretched out to pitch multiple innings, but Wakamatsu didn’t send him out for the 13th inning.
Left-hander Garrett Olson started the 13th and walked Alfonso Soriano. It was the Mariners’ third leadoff walk in four innings, and this time it cost them.
Kosuke Fukudome dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved Soriano to second, and Wakamatsu brought in right-hander Sean White, who last pitched June 14. White walked Ryan Theriot before Byrd grounded a single to right, scoring Soriano.
The Mariners had a baserunner in the bottom of the 13th when Jack Wilson singled with two outs, his third hit of the game. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny struck out Saunders, who went 0 for 6 with three strikeouts, to end the game.
Cubs 3, Mariners 2 (13)
E—Jo.Wilson (8). LOB—Chicago 7, Seattle 13. 2B—I.Suzuki (17), M.Sweeney (3), Ja.Wilson (8). RBIs—Byrd (35), Fontenot (16), Tracy (5), M.Sweeney (17), Ja.Wilson (8). SB—Figgins (16), M.Sweeney (2), F.Gutierrez (8). S—Fukudome, K.Hill, Ro.Johnson. SF—Fontenot. RLISP—Chicago 3 (Byrd, Theriot, D.Lee); Seattle 7 (Ro.Johnson 2, Figgins 2, I.Suzuki, Alfonzo 2). DP—Chicago 1 (Theriot, Fontenot, D.Lee); Seattle 3 (Figgins, Ja.Wilson, Jo.Wilson), (Ja.Wilson, Figgins, Jo.Wilson), (Ja.Wilson, Figgins, Jo.Wilson).
|Cashner BS, 1-1||2||3||1||1||1||2||29||0.87|
|Grabow W, 1-3||2||1||0||0||0||1||26||7.46|
|Howry H, 3||2/3||1||0||0||0||0||9||6.66|
|Gorzelanny S, 1-1||1/3||0||0||0||0||1||6||3.46|
|Olson L, 0-2||1/3||0||1||1||1||0||7||4.50|
IR-S—Marmol 2-0, Gorzelanny 1-0, White 1-1. IBB—off Marmol (F.Gutierrez), off Cashner (I.Suzuki). HBP—by F.Hernandez (Nady). WP—F.Hernandez. Balk—Lilly. T—4:02. A—41,329 (47,878).