Alejando De Aza drove in the go-ahead run in the 16th inning and the Chicago White Sox, who didn’t get a runner to second base until the ninth, outlasted the Seattle Mariners in a 7-5 classic at Safeco Field Wednesday in front of a few hundred remaining from a crowd of 20,139. Chicago’s victory, its first in nine games, denied Seattle a sweep and ended one of the more remarkable games in Mariners history. It lasted five hours, 42 minutes.
After battling through 13 scoreless innings, the White Sox erupted for five runs off relievers Danny Farquhar and Hector Noesi, seemingly putting the game away. But the Mariners manufactured a run on an Endy Chavez RBI single, then Kyle Seager stunned the baseball world with a grand slam for a tie at 5. It marked Seager’s first career slam.
The slam was epic. Seager became the first player in major league history to hit a game-tying grand slam in extra innings. Seager also became just the fifth player to hit an extra-inning grand slam in the 14th inning, joining Bruce Campbell of Cleveland (1935), Leon Culberson of Boston (1946), John Pramesa of Cincinnati (1951) and Tim Harkness of the Giants (1963).
The 10 combined runs in the 14th inning set a major league record. The Mariners were the first team in history to scored five runs in the 14th or later, according to Elias Sports.
After another scoreless inning, the White Sox pushed across two runs in the 16th and the depleted Mariners couldn’t answer. The Mariners, who haven’t won three in a row since May 1-4, fell to 26-34 following the longest scoreless contest in Seattle history. On Aug. 12, 2009, Seattle defeated Chicago 1-0 in 14 innings when Ken Griffey Jr. hit a walk-off single.
The Mariners had numerous opportunities to win early. But they banged into six double plays, left 12 men stranded, and went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. At one point, the Mariners were 0-for-11 with RISP.
“You’ll never be able to figure this game out, and that’s a great example,” said manager Eric Wedge. “We had many opportunities, we just couldn’t get it done. It was a heckuva battle. We’ve just got to be able to execute better offensively.”
The Mariners had 16 hits to 17 for Chicago, but the game certainly didn’t start that way. Dylan Axelrod, Chicago’s starter, didn’t allow an earned run in 5.1 innings. Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma was better.
Apart from throwing a no-hitter, Iwakuma couldn’t have been much more effective. He worked eight innings, allowed just three hits while striking out five and walking none. He allowed hits in each of the first three innings, and then retired 16 in a row. One of his strikeouts, Alexei Ramirez in the seventh inning, came on a 66 mph breaking ball.
Iwakuma did not allow a runner to reach second base. When he departed, his ERA tumbled from 2.13 to 1.94. But all of that was lost as the game unfolded.
They loaded the bases in the fifth with one out for Jason Bay, but he slapped into an inning-ending double play, ending Seattle’s most significant threat.
In the sixth, the Mariners placed runners on the corners with one out after a sharp single by Raul Ibanez, but Nick Franklin popped to right and Michael Saunders struck out.
In the ninth, Franklin started off with a double, but Michael Saunders and Kelly Shoppach fanned and Brendan Ryan flew out to right.
In the 10th, Seager drew a walk and Kendrys Morales dribbled a single to right, sending Seager to third. But the Mariners couldn’t convert, Ibanez ending the inning by striking out.
The Mariners open a four-game series with the New York Yankees Thursday night at Safeco Field. Aaron Harang (2-5, 5.82) will face RHP Phil Hughes (2-4, 5.37). This will be the Yankees’ only visit this season. The Mariners will close out the 10-day, 10-game home stand by hosting Houston in a three-game series June 10-12.
NOTES: Mariners made three roster moves Thursday, calling up C Brandon Bantz from AAA Tacoma, optioning Carlos Triunfel to the Rainiers, and placing OF Franklin Gutierrez on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to April 23. Gutierrez will be eligible to come off June 22 . . . Kelly Shoppach went all 16 inning at catcher and will be expected to start through the weekend . . .and OF Michael Morse was out of the lineup Wednesday for the sixth straight day with a strained right quadriceps, but is expected to play Thursday against the Yankees.