NEW YORK — In the search for blame in the Mariners’ latest failure, the squandering of a chance for another unexpected victory and a stunning series win, they found a disappointing 5-4 defeat to the New York Mets was truly a team effort.
The Mariners made two costly base-running outs, thwarting prime scoring opportunities, committed three errors and failed to make at least two key plays that led to New York runs and allowed a light-hitting catcher called up the day of the game to beat them in a rain-delayed Saturday evening at CitiField.
Andres Munoz’s first pitch of the seventh inning was a 97-mph fastball over the middle of the plate that Mets catcher Patrick Mazeika turned into a stunning solo homer and go-ahead run.
Mazeika’s homer overshadowed the heroics of the Mariners’ Jesse Winker, who hammered a three-run homer in the top of the inning to tie the game at 4-4 and give the Mariners hope to a win game they had no business even being in considering their mistakes.
With a vocal and energetic contingent of friends and family making the short trip from Westchester County, rookie right-hander George Kirby couldn’t quite replicate his MLB debut.
Facing a Mets lineup that attacked him early in counts and made him work, Kirby made it through four innings, allowing three runs — only one earned — on three hits with a walk and only strikeout. Of his 89 pitches thrown, 60 were strikes, but only seven pitches generated swings and misses. In his previous outing, Kirby had 14 swings and misses in his 55 strikes.
Meanwhile the defense being played behind him was a mixed bag of miscues, missed plays and made plays that prevented the outing from getting worse.
Kirby’s first career run allowed was a perfect example. With one out in the first inning, Starling Marte hit a ball to the right-center gap. Julio Rodriguez had trouble picking it up initially, which motivated Marte to try for a triple. Rodriguez fired the ball to Adam Frazier, who made a perfect relay throw to Eugenio Suarez at third base. The initial call on the field was an out. But a replay review showed that Suarez was slow on the tag and not in proper position. Marte was safe and he scored moments later on Francisco Lindor’s single through the drawn-in infield.
The Mets picked up two unearned runs in the third inning. Suarez booted a ground ball off the bat of Brandon Nimmo to start the inning and Rodriguez couldn’t complete a diving catch in left-center on a deep drive from Marte. The Mets scored runs on a pair of sac flies to right field. The second sac fly required a leaping grab by Steven Souza Jr. at the wall.
The two baserunning mistakes?
Suarez was picked off at second with bases loaded for the third out of the first inning when Seattle had Mets starter Chris Bassitt on the ropes.
Following Winker’s homer, Julio Rodriguez reached on a walk but was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
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