The Mariners continued their dominance over the National League with a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals before a crowd of 40,431 Saturday night at Safeco Field.
The barefoot bandit, running from the beer garden and under a fly ball in left-center field, was tracked down and tackled by a Safeco Field security guard a few steps before reaching the infield dirt.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ comeback bid was halted soon after that.
Mike Montgomery and a resurgent Mariners bullpen pitched four shutout innings to preserve a 5-4 victory for Seattle and secure another interleague series win before a crowd of 40,431 Saturday night at Safeco Field.
St. Louis @ Mariners, 1:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
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The Mariners, who limped home two days ago with a sub-.500 record after a dreadful road trip, have won two in a row to move to 38-37. They’re 8-1 against the National League this season and will send James Paxton to the mound Sunday afternoon looking for a series sweep.
The Mariners built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings against St. Louis right-hander Mike Leake, and then held on through a bizarre sequence in the top of the fifth inning.
With Cardinals runners on first and second, a barefoot fan leaped over the wall from the beer garden in center field, and he happened to do so just as St. Louis slugger Matt Carpenter hit a deep fly ball between Mariners outfielders Seth Smith and Leonys Martin in the left-center alley.
The fan, whether he realized it or not, ran almost directly under the path of the fly ball.
Smith managed to avoid the fan and track down the fly ball for the first out of the inning.
“I’ve never seen that before, especially when the ball was hit right there,” said Montgomery, who watched the play from the Seattle bullpen.
The fan was tackled and quickly escorted off the field by several security members. He was taken into police custody, a Mariners official said.
“I think it’s pretty stupid. I think fans need to keep their (butts) in the stands and let us play the game,” Mariners starter Nathan Karns said. “He could’ve gotten someone hurt.”
Karns had cruised through the first two innings on just 22 pitches, but once staked a 5-0 lead he had trouble getting ahead of Cardinals hitters, throwing first-pitch strikes to just seven of the 23 batters he faced.
After Carpenter’s wild fly out to Smith, St. Louis shortstop Aledmys Diaz worked Karns to a 3-2 count and then blasted a high 93 mph fastball deep into the Mariners bullpen for a three-run homer, cutting Mariners’ lead to 5-4.
Karns was able to get the final two outs of the inning, striking out Brandon Moss on a curveball in the dirt with the tying run on second base. Karns (6-2) picked up his first win in nearly a month despite the up-and-down performance, in which he allowed four earned runs in five innings.
In five June starts, Karns has a 7.33 earned-run average with 27 strikeouts and 17 walks in 231/3 innings.
Montgomery was excellent in his 21/3 innings of relief, allowing only one hit while striking out four. Rookie Edwin Diaz got the final two outs of the eighth inning, and closer Steve Cishek worked around Carpenter’s one-out double for his 17th save.
“Outstanding job by Mike Montgomery tonight,” manager Scott Servais said. “He really came in and attacked the strike zone. … Great job by our bullpen. It’s really huge for us and huge for them.”
Dae-Ho Lee had a key two-out, two-run single in the first inning, when the Mariners built a 3-0 lead, scoring all their runs with two outs.
Martin had three hits, and Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Adam Lind also drove in runs. Cruz and Seager also made spectacular plays in the field in a well-rounded game for the Mariners.