The Mariners are hosting the Yankees at Safeco Field this weekend. But a lot of fans are still shaking their heads about Wednesday's history-making game —and devastating loss— against the White Sox.
KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel was there. To the bitter end. In the 16th inning.
'Drop-dead astonishing' as Seager makes history
The game lasted 5 hours and 42 minutes. It remained scoreless through 13 innings, tying a record for the Mariners.
Art says he saw the crowd dwindle from 20,000+ to a few hundred. But those who stuck it out were amazed at what they saw in the 14th inning.
"The White Sox explode for five runs," he said. "So, 5-0 and people are just going out of there; there are more seagulls in the stadium than there are people. The Mariners manage to scratch in one run."
"Then Kyle Seager steps to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs, and he goes to 0-2 in the count," Art continues. "So the Mariners are down to their last strike in a 5-0 game. And then Seager fouls a ball off his big toe and he comes out of the batter's box hopping on one foot. He really hurt himself on that."
But Seager stuck with it.
"He manages to step gingerly back into the box," Art says breathlessly. "He sets up and takes a pitch. And then he gets a slider. And hits it 400 ft. into right center field for a grand slam homerun that ties the game at five."
"Never in Major League Baseball history has such a feat occurred. And that's saying something," Art said. "Because baseball keeps a lot of records for over a century and no one has ever seen a grand slam tie a game so late."
"And, on top of it, the teams together scoring 10 runs in one inning after being scoreless! That's never happened in Major League Baseball history," he said. "So it was just drop-dead astonishing what happened in that 14th inning."
Then Mariners' history repeats itself
But, alas, the Mariners ended up losing the game 7-5.
Art says the Ms' offense squandered several chances to win, after being set up so well by starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. He pitched eight shutout innings and gave up only three hits and had no walks. "He might be the best pitcher in the American League right now," Art said.
But Art says Iwakuma's "brilliant" pitching and Seager's "majestic" hit weren't enough.
"The Mariners had ample opportunities to win this game and be celebratory about being able to do what they did in that 14th inning. Instead, they lost another close game," Art says. "And that's sort of been the theme of the season, the theme of recent years for the Mariners. They just can't get it done in the end."