With 3,101 losses on the franchise ledger as of Friday, and only 11 winning seasons in 36, the Mariners as a franchise know something about blowing ballgames. Most of the defeats run together, but a few are confounding dumbfounders that leave the observer wondering, “How did that happen?” Such was the case Thursday night when the Mariners took a 7-2 lead into the ninth inning at Fenway Park only to step on a shed full of rakes and lose 8-7.
It was a defeat that eclipsed in infamy all others in 2013 and one, we suspect, that will always rank high on the list of lousy lore in Seattle’s professional sports history.
Without resurrecting and examining the entire galling gamut, we offer three of the Mariners losses for consideration as most dumbfounding. Please take the time to vote and wring out your frustration in the comments section.
A — Rangers 12, Mariners 10, April, 1992. The Mariners, celebrating the start of their first full season of new, local ownership, played the most dubious home opener in franchise history, allowing the Rangers nine runs with two outs in the eighth inning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen nine runs with two outs in the eighth inning,” complained manager Bill Plummer. Closer Mike Schooler played the goat, giving up four runs, including a pinch-hit, three-run homer.
B — Indians 15, Mariners 14 (11), Aug. 5, 2001. The greatest team in Mariners history inexplicably also had the greatest single-game swoon. Leading 12-0 after three innings and 14-2 after five, the M’s were outscored 13-0 from the seventh through the 11th innings.
On only two other occasions in major league history had a team climbed out of a 12-run hole to win. What made the rally even more astonishing was that Cleveland pulled starters Roberto Alomar, Juan Gonzalez and Ellis Burks by the seventh inning.
The Indians scored three in the seventh, four in the eighth and five after two were out in the ninth, the last three on Omar Vizquel’s bases-loaded triple off closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. On three occasions in the ninth, the Indians were down to their final strike.
C — Red Sox 8, Mariners 7, Aug. 1, 2013. Leading 7-2 in the ninth inning, the Mariners allowed the Red Sox to score six runs on six hits and win 8-7 for their second walk-off loss on the same calendar day (15-inning walk-off loss to Boston occurred in the wee hours Thursday).
After Felix Hernandez departed with a 7-1 lead, Charlie Furbush gave up a solo homer in the eighth, and then relievers Tom Wilhelmsen, Oliver Perez and Yoervis Medina could only record one out among them.
It marked only the fourth time in the entirety of Boston’s long baseball history that the Red Sox won a nine-inning game in which they were behind by five or more runs heading into the ninth: 1931 (vs. the Philadelphia Athletics), 1937 (at Cleveland) and 2007 (vs. the Orioles).