BALTIMORE — Any walkoff defeat is by its very nature the height of frustration. Add in extra innings, and the emotion is multiplied.
But the Mariners were left fuming as well as well as frustrated after falling, 8-7, in 14 innings to the Orioles at Camden Yards on Tuesday.
The winning rally began with an infield single by Omar Quintanilla. First-base umpire Brian Knight ruled that first baseman Mike Carp had pulled his foot on second baseman’s Dustin Ackley’s throw after he made a backhand stop. The Mariners vehemently disagreed. Manager Eric Wedge got quickly ejected when he went out to argue his case. Replays seemed to back him up.
“He was out. It was clear that Carp was on the bag, and Ackley made a great play,” Wedge said heatedly afterward. “It’s a damn shame the umpire has to get involved in that way.
“When you talk about first basemen coming off the bag, it’s been in the game for a hundred-plus years. But he didn’t even come close to coming off the bag. It was evident he was on there, and noticeably so. It’s just a damn shame he has to make the call right there and cost us the ballgame.”
Shawn Kelley, in his third inning of relief, then gave up a single to Nick Markakis. Both runners were moved up on a sacrifice by J.J. Hardy, whose three-run homer in the seventh had tied the score at 7-all.
The Mariners intentionally walked Chris Davis to load the bases, and ex-Mariner Adam Jones followed with a sinking liner to right that went off the glove of incoming right fielder Casper Wells for the winning single. Wells went into a slide but couldn’t snare the ball as Quintanilla scored.
“Close. I should have caught it,” Wells said. “It was sinking, but ... I should have caught it. I didn’t catch it.”
Still, it was the play at first base the Mariners kept coming back to.
“I have nothing to say worth saying,” Carp said. “You guys all saw what happened, the whole country saw what happened. Now if someone has the decency to say something about it. That’s it.”
Added Wedge: “The leadoff hitter getting on in an extra-inning ballgame on the road — it’s everything. It’s unfortunate, and you just can’t do that right there. It’s the big leagues. Games shouldn’t end like that in the 14th inning. Our guys are fighting their asses off out there to compete and win. For an umpire to get involved like that is just ridiculous.”
The Mariners didn’t score over the final eight innings, but four Seattle relievers — Stephen Pryor, Josh Kinney, Oliver Perez and Kelley — had pitched brilliantly to match the Orioles’ relievers. In fact, that quartet retired 17 in a row.
Kelley felt he should have overcome the leadoff hit by Quintanilla.
“That’s a tough call, but stuff happens in the course of a baseball game,” he said. “It’s just one runner. It came down to the bases loaded there and I just didn’t get the pitch quite off the plate enough to Jones. Obviously it’s a different story if that call goes the other way, but it happens.”
The Orioles have won 12 consecutive extra-inning games and are 12-2 overall. The Mariners are 5-7 in extra frames.
This was two distinct games, with the teams combining for 14 runs over the first seven innings, then scoring zero over the next six. The Mariners blew leads of 5-0 and 7-2 as they lost for the fourth time in five games on the trip. They had 18 hits but left 13 on base.
“The bullpen did a great job,” Wedge said. “We got our hits, but we never got that final hit in an inning once we got deeper in the game and extra innings.”
The Mariners built their early lead on the strength of a three-run homer by Kyle Seager in the first and a solo shot by Miguel Olivo in the second.
It unraveled for the Mariners in the seventh as Wedge left in left-hander Lucas Luetge to face the right-handed Hardy with two aboard, and Hardy unloaded his 16th homer.