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 vs. one of the best teams in baseball, they instead found a disappointing 5-4 defeat to the New York Mets that was truly a team effort.

“There is a lot to unpack from that game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said with an exhale.

The Mariners hurt themselves with two costly base-running outs that ended innings and thwarted prime scoring opportunities. Of course, their struggles to hit with runners in scoring position might have proved the moot.

The Mariners also committed three errors, one of which led to two unearned runs, and failed to make at least two key plays that could’ve prevented at least one run and saved some pitches for rookie George Kirby.

And in the end, the bullpen allowed a light-hitting catcher, who was called up Friday to beat them in a rain-delayed and misty Saturday evening at CitiField.

Given their offensive struggles and injuries, the Mariners aren’t good enough to play that way and win very often.


“We’ve got to play clean baseball, there’s no question,” Servais said. “It’s doing the little things right. The fundamental things right, staying in the game. The outs on the bases hurt tonight. They took an opportunity away from us. That’s what we do when we’re playing well: We make the plays, we throw a lot of strikes, we control the strike zone and play clean baseball.

“We didn’t play a clean game tonight. We still had a chance to win it, which says a lot about our club. We’ve got some fight.”

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. Munoz was looking for a get-me-over strike to start the inning to a hitter with 47 career homers in 504 minor league games. Understanding the matchup, Mazeika was cheating on the fastball and hit his second career big league home run.

It was a gut-punch to the Mariners, who were still celebrating the crowd-tormenting antics of Jesse Winker from the top of the seventh. Much to the dismay of the 37,140 fans in attendance, most of whom loathe Winker with the combined heat of 1,000 blow torches, Winker clubbed three-run homer off lefty Chasen Shreve to turn a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 tie.

Winker knew the ball was a homer off the bat and he took his time leaving the batter’s box, admiring his work and basking in the stunned silence and then the serenade of boos from fans.

“I’m gonna be honest with you, I love them,” Winker said of Mets fans. “They’re an amazing group of people. They are very passionate about their team and their city. And from a guy, who was born in upstate New York and a big fan of that football team up there (the Buffalo Bills), I can understand the passion and I respect it. This thing we got going on is special.”


Shreve screamed at him to start running. Winker did start his trot, but took his time around the bases and waved to Mets fans as he crossed home plate.

“I think we should have the Mets fans show up more often,” Servais said with a chuckle. “For Jesse, he seems to like it. They bring out the best in him, and he’s not afraid to give it back and play with a little emotion. It’s great to see him start swinging the bat good. We need that kind of intensity out of him.”

With a vocal contingent of friends and family making the short trip from Westchester County to Flushing to watch him make his second MLB start, rookie right-hander George Kirby couldn’t quite replicate his MLB debut, which started an hour later because rain.

Facing a Mets lineup that attacked him early in counts and wouldn’t give in with two strikes, Kirby made it through four innings, allowing three runs — only one earned — on three hits with a walk and only one strikeout. Of his 89 pitches, 60 were strikes, but only seven generated swings and misses. In his previous outing, Kirby had 14 swings and misses in his 55 strikes.

“When I would get them 0-2, or 1-2, it was a real challenge to get them to swing and miss,” he said. “I just felt like they were on everything, but it’s my job to execute better with two strikes.

The defense 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 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 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 outs on the bases?

Suarez was picked off at second with the bases loaded for the third out of the first inning when Mariners had Mets starter Chris Bassitt on the ropes. It was costly play because of the lack of focus.

Following Winker’s homer, Julio Rodriguez reached on a walk but ended the inning when Shreve threw to first as he was breaking to steal.