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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Mariners blow nine-run lead in stunning collapse in loss to Royals

Sept. 25, 2022 Updated Sun., Sept. 25, 2022 at 8:39 p.m.

By Adam Jude Seattle Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – What … was … that?

The Mariners ended their most befuddling and most harrowing road trip of the season with their most haunting and inexplicable loss in years Sunday afternoon, blowing a nine-run lead in a 13-12 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

There is so much to unpack here. And it’s probably a waste of energy to even attempt to detail all that went wrong.

The bottom line : The Mariners (83-69) face-planted in such stunning fashion that it’s only natural to wonder whether this patchwork team – with all its injuries, all its flaws and all the angst it has created – is still capable of sneaking into the postseason.

“You can’t let a game like today define our season,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “And it won’t. We will not let that happen.”

Servais had a closed-door meeting with the team in the visitors’ clubhouse after the game.

“We’ve got to get back to playing baseball the way we have all year that’s allowed us to be in this position,” Servais said he told the team. “We do have a good opportunity to make the playoffs, and next 10 games will define where we’re at. But we need to get back to playing good baseball.”

It has been such a magical season for this team, on the precipice of its first playoff berth in 21 years. And then – poof! – the Mariners gave one away Sunday.

Leading 11-2, the Mariners surrendered 11 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Royals took a 13-11 lead.

The 11 runs tied the Mariners franchise record for most allowed in one inning. The last time it happened was May 28, 2000, in Tampa Bay.

The only saving grace for the Mariners is the Orioles lost again at home to Houston, keeping the Mariners four games ahead of Baltimore for the final playoff spot. The Mariners also hold the tiebreaker over the Orioles.

The injuries continued to mount for the Mariners on Sunday.

Jesse Winker had to leave the game in the fifth inning after being hit on the left wrist.

Catcher Cal Raleigh, the hero of Saturday’s comeback victory, had to leave the game in the seventh inning.

Raleigh has been playing through an injury on his left thumb. He finished the inning, but Luis Torrens pinch-hit for him the next inning.

The Mariners have already been without their two best sluggers, Julio Rodriguez (back strain) and Eugenio Suarez (finger).Mariners ace Luis Castillo, pitching just after the announcement of his new five-year, $108 million contract extension, was solid through five innings against the Royals.

But Castillo couldn’t get out of the sixth inning. He surrendered a walk to Edward Olivares and then a two-run home run to Michael Massey, cutting the Mariners’ lead to 11-4.

No panic, right?

After Castillo issued another walk, he was pulled in favor of Matt Festa.

Festa allowed a walk, a hit and two runs.

Still no panic, right?

With two outs, Brash was called on to relieve Festa.

Brash had not allowed a run in his last 16 appearances dating back to Aug. 14 – he’s been one of the bright spots in the Mariners’ dominant bullpen – but he allowed four runs (all earned) Sunday without recording an out.

Brash gave up a double to Bobby Witt Jr. on a ball deep into the right-center gap that the Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic lost in the sun – an issue for both teams throughout the afternoon.

Brash then issued back-to-back walks to Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino. Olivarez followed with a hard-hit ground ball that ate up Ty France at third base – it was ruled a single.

Erik Swanson, one of the steadiest arms on the Mariners staff all season, allowed a two-run single to Massey to cut the Mariners’ lead to 11-10.

Ryan O’Hearn then delivered the final blow, doubling down the line to right field to drive in two runs and give the Royals a 13-11 lead.

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