Jason Bay, who almost won the game in the 11th inning with a near-home run to left, hit a walk-off single in the 13th to give the Mariners a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers Sunday at Safeco Field. The victory snapped Seattle’s season-high eight-game losing streak, longest since 2011, and elated the Mariners, who rushed the field in celebration after Bay’s hit.
“This game could be a turning point,” Bay told Root Sports. “Right now, we’re going through a rough patch, but this takes a little pressure off. “If we had lost that one, it could have potentially been heartbreaking.”
After Raul Ibanez, who homered in the 11th to tie the game at 3, flew out to right to open the 13th, Kendrys Morales delivered his third hit of the game, a double to right center. Morales advanced to third on a ground ball by Carlos Triunfel and scored on Bay’s shot to left. The hit finally gave the Mariners a walk-off win after they suffered three walk-off losses in a four-game series at Cleveland last week.
The win also snapped Seattle’s longest losing streak since a 17-game slide in 2011 and improved Seattle’s record to 21-29 after 50 games. The Mariners were also 21-29 after 50 games in 2012.
Hisashi Iwakuma didn’t factor in the decision, but pitched an outstanding game, allowing two runs on five hits in 8.0 innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He had a little bit of a rough start, allowing a leadoff homer to Jurickson Profar and fell behind 2-0 in the second when Leonys Martins hit a sacrifice fly.
From then onuntil he was pulled, Iwakuma pitched spectacularly. Morales took him off the hook for a potential loss in the sixth when, following a Kyle Seager double, he homered on an 0-0 count. It was Morales’ sixth homer of the season.
Texas starter Nick Tepesch departed after Morales’ bomb, finishing the day having allowed two earned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Mariners had their chances to win in the ninth when, with one out, Michael Morse walked on a full count. Texas manager Ron Washington lifted Tanner Scheppers for Robbie Ross, with Seattle threatening with runners at first and second with one out. The scoring opportunity died when Dustin Ackley, in an 0-for-17 slide, flew out to center for the second out and catcher Jesus Sucre hit a comebacker to Ross.
In the 11th, Ibanez hit the first pitch of the frame to tie the game at 3-3. It was his ninth long ball of the year and his seventh in his last 11 contests. Bay nearly gave Seattle a walk-off win when he drove the ball to the wall in left, but David Murphy caught it about two feet shy of it being a home run.
The Mariners had another chance to win in the 12th when Jason Frasor walked Sucre on a full count and Brendan Ryan bunted himself board. But with runners on second and third, Seager grounded out weakly to first, sending the game to the 13th inning, in which Bay became the hero of the day.
The Mariners begin a two-game, Safeco Field series with the San Diego Padres Monday afternoon. Aaron Harang (1-5, 8.58) will face Clayton Richard (0-4, 8.54). The Mariners and Padres play two at Petco Park Wednesday and Thursday, and then Seattle will play three in Minnesota before returning to Safeco Field June 3 to begin a 10-day, 10-game home stand.
NOTES: First baseman Justin Smoak was out of the lineup Sunday with a strained oblique and is listed as day-to-day . . . Due to Michael Saunders’ recent struggles (he entered Sunday hitting .211), manager Eric Wedge dropped him to sixth in the batting order (he went 0-for-3). Endy Chavez filled the leadoff role . . . The Mariners are 5-3-1 in their past nine series after losing three straight . . . Dustin Ackley went 0-for-5 and ended the game batting .205, three points blow what Jesus Montero was hitting when he was sent out to AAA Tacoma earlier in the week . . . The Mariners went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Nice to see Bay and Ibanez come thru when they tend to take a backseat to the younger players.