The Seattle bats don’t produce and the Mariners can’t beat the visiting Twins — the team with the worst record in the American League.
For those keeping score at home — it was 2-4-5-6 for the double play.
Or you could score it — an anger-inducing, rally-killing, game-ending, absurd double play.
Either way, it was a bitter end to an already frustrating Saturday night for the Mariners in a 6-5 defeat against the Twins.
Minnesota @ Mariners, 1:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
Down a run in the ninth, the Mariners had runners on first and third with one out. And with one pitch in the dirt and two overeager base runners, suddenly there were three throws, two outs and a stinging defeat.
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With Franklin Gutierrez at the plate and an 0-2 count, Kyle Seager, on first base and representing the winning run, tried to advance to second on Kevin Jepsen’s curveball in the dirt. But the ball didn’t bounce far from catcher Juan Centeno, who fired a laser down to second. The throw was so far ahead of him that Seager stopped and decided a rundown was better than just being tagged out.
“I was trying to be aggressive on a curveball in the dirt,” Seager said. “Catcher did a really nice job of smothering it and made a nice throw. It didn’t work out too well. It was me probably trying to be a little too aggressive there, trying to get the extra base and get in scoring position. “
Pinch-runner Shawn O’Malley, on third base, saw Seager was in trouble and started to inch toward home in case there was a scoring opportunity if Seager got caught in a full-fledged rundown.
Second baseman Brian Dozier fired to third base to get O’Malley diving back into the bag.
“I probably should have just stayed (at third),” O’Malley said. “But I was thinking score. Unfortunately it ended up costing us.”
Not finished with the play, third baseman Eduardo Nunez then fired to second to get Seager, who was trying to advance again.
Well, the umpires reviewed both tags, but didn’t have enough to overturn either call. So then it was officially ballgame over.
“That’s about as abnormal of an ending to a game as you are going to see,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
But while that play sticks out, t here was more than just that failure Saturday night. Seattle didn’t execute with runners in scoring position and starter Wade Miley went just four-plus innings and give up five runs.
“We had a lot of guys on base, lot of opportunities and didn’t cash in,” Servais said. “It’s discouraging. I do like the way we competed. Getting the guy in from third was a struggle.”
With the defeat, the Mariners dropped to 28-20 and 10-13 at home. It is their fourth series loss at home this season. They’ll try to avoid being swept Sunday with Taijuan Walker making the start.
On a night when home runs were flying out of Safeco Field with surprising regularity — some at tremendous distances — it wasn’t the lack of long balls that torpedoed the Mariners’ victory chances.
No, it was the failure to execute with runners in scoring position — particularly when the bases were loaded — that was the Mariners’ undoing. Seattle stranded 10 runners and went 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Minnesota’s Miguel Sano started the homer barrage. Miley left a 1-2 curveball over the plate and for the second consecutive night, Sano displayed his vast power, hammering a pitch into the upper deck of left field for a 2-0 lead. It was his third homer in three games and 10th on the season.
The Mariners answered with a homer of their own from the unlikeliest of sources. Leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki jumped on a 2-0 fastball from Twins’ starter Phil Hughes and hit his first homer of the season, just out of the reach of the leaping Sano to cut the lead to 2-1.
It was Aoki’s fifth leadoff homer of his career.
Seattle grabbed the lead in the fourth inning.
Gutierrez led off with a single and later came around to score when center fielder Danny Santana mishandled Steve Clevenger’s bloop single to center for a one-run lead.
The Mariners bunted Clevenger over to third and he scored on Aoki’s single up the middle to make it 4-2.