The Mariners were looking to rebound from a tough defeat Thursday night, and Seattle starter Logan Gilbert was looking to rebound from the worst start by far of his young big-league career.
Thanks in large part to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, neither happened.
Perez hit his second grand slam in two nights in the fourth inning for the Royals, and eight innings later, Edward Olivares hit a two-run homer that lifted Kansas City to an 8-7 victory over Seattle in 12 innings on Friday night at T-Mobile Park.
Olivarez’s homer came with two outs and just cleared the wall in left field. For a moment, it appeared Jake Fraley might have caught the ball, but his glove was empty. It was a bitter end for the Mariners (69-60), who played their first 12-inning game of the season, one that took 4 hours and 40 minutes.
Seattle fell 4 1/2 games behind Boston for the final wild-card playoff spot.
“Tough night,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais. “We’re used to winning those (type of) games. We find a way. Tonight we just couldn’t get it done.”
Much earlier, the spotlight was on Gilbert, who gave up nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings last Saturday in a 15-1 loss at Houston.
He certainly did not get off to a good start Friday, opening the game by allowing a double, a pair of singles and a wild pitch that not only scored a run but left runners on second and third with no outs.
But the 24-year-old rookie showed fortitude, and he kept the runners there by striking out Carlos Santana, getting Andrew Benintendi to pop out and Hunter Dozier to fly out to deep left field to end the threat.
Perhaps boosted by GIlbert’s escape act, the Mariners offense answered immediately, with the first three hitters — J.P. Crawford, Mitch Haniger and Ty France — reaching base. Abraham Toro brought home a run with a bases-loaded walk, and Luis Torrens followed with a double to right field to make it 3-1 with runners on second and third base.
Royals starer Kris Bubic had the look of a pitcher who might not get out of the first inning, but he struck out Jarred Kelenic and got Dylan Moore to fly out to limit the damage.
Crawford, Haniger and France opened the second inning like they did the first, each getting on and loading the bases with no outs.
It looked like the Mariners might squander the golden opportunity when Kyle Seager and Toro struck out. But Torrens drew a bases-loaded walk and Tom Murphy ripped a run-scoring single to left to make it 5-1 before Kelenic struck out.
The Mariners could have had more, having left the bases loaded in each of the first two innings. Those missed chances loomed larger after the Royals loaded the bases with two outs, and Perez, of all people, coming to bat in the top of the fourth inning.
Thursday, Perez’s grand slam off Joe Smith in the sixth inning gave the Royals a 5-4 lead in a game they won 6-4.
Friday, his grand slam off Gilbert, a drive to center field that was his 36th homer of the season, tied the score at 5.
“He’s one of the hottest hitters we’ve seen in a while and he is on everything,” Servais said.
That blast was the difference between a tough but acceptable outing from Gilbert and one that was rather forgettable for the second straight game. He allowed five runs in four innings, giving up nine hits and a walk and needing 91 pitches.
“I didn’t think Logan threw the ball that bad, but he didn’t get great results again,” Servais said.
The game settled down after the fourth inning, with Kansas City reliever Carlos Hernandez and a host of Seattle relievers putting up zeros for both teams until the 10th inning.
Hernandez, who had been scheduled to start Saturday for Kansas City, allowed just one hit in 5 2/3 innings and one unearned run in the 10th.
“They really flipped the game on us when they brought in Hernandez,” said Servais, who also praised his own relievers. “He absolutely slammed the door on us. We didn’t do anything against him.”
It got tense for Seattle in the top of the eighth when the Royals had runners on first and third with two outs and Perez coming to the plate. Servais brought in Paul Sewald to face Perez, who flew out to center field to end the inning.
Both teams scored on a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and both teams failed to score in the 11th.
Yohan Ramirez, the ninth pitcher of the night for the Mariners, seemed in a good spot to get out of the 12th unscathed, getting the first two outs before Olivares hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall.
The Mariners scored in the 12th and had runners on first and second when Kelenic, who was 0 for 6, struck out to end it.
The teams get little time to digest what happened. They play again at 1:10 p.m. Saturday.
“Our guys will show up and give us a great effort,” Servais said.