In 37+ seasons encompassing 5,890 games (2,743 wins, 3,147) losses, the Mariners have endured 18 losing streaks of eight or more games, topped by a 17-game slide under Eric Wedge in 2011. Only three of those were snapped with a walk-off home run, Kyle Seager the latest to lift the Mariners out of a morass with his ninth-inning shot off Josh Fields that beat the Houston Astros Wednesday.
Prior to Seager, the last Mariner to stop a losing streak of eight or more games with a walk-off home run was Adrian Beltre, whose solo shot off Ron Villone of the Yankees Aug. 21, 2006 ended an 11-game losing streak.
The only other time that a Mariner hit a walk-off home run to end a losing streak of eight or more was April 29, 1985, when catcher Donnie Scott ripped a two-run, 10th-inning blast off Ray Searage of Milwaukee for a 9-7 victory that halted an eight-game losing streak.
Seager entered Wednesday in the worst slump of his career, batting .156 with no home runs, two RBIs and a slugging percentage of .219. He not only became the first Mariner to hit a walk-off home run with a batting average under .170, he became the fourth player in major league history to hit two homers, including one of the walk-off variety, while driving in all (minimum of five) of his team’s runs.
Seager hit a two-run homer off Jarred Cosart in the seventh and his three-run homer off Fields in the ninth, accounting for all the runs in Seattle’s 5-3 victory. According to Elias, only George Kelly of the Giants (1924), Sam Chapman of the A’s (1941) and David Ortiz of the Red Sox (2007) ever had such a game.
Seager is the eighth Mariner to hit two home runs in a game that also included a walk-off, and the first since the above-referenced Beltre shot off Villone in 2006.
|4/12/80||Leon Roberts||Tor||Solo (Mirabella, 6th), solo walk-off (Garvin, 10th)|
|5/31/82||Paul Serna||Milw||Solo (McClure, 7th), 2-run walk-off (Augustine, 11th)|
|4/8/86||Jim Presley||Cal||2-Run (Moore, 9th), GS walk-off (Forsch, 10th)|
|9/24/95||Tino Martinez||Oak||Solo (Ontiveros, 6th), 2-run walk-off (Eckersley, 9th)|
|4/13/03||Bret Boone||Tex||Solo (Thomson, 7th), solo walk-off (Dickey, 13th)|
|4/20/04||Raul Ibanez||Oak||Solo (Harden, 7th), solo walk-off (Mecir, 9th)|
|8/22/06||Adrian Beltre||NYY||2-run (Karstens, 1st), solo walk-off (Villone, 9th)|
|4/23/14||Kyle Seager||Hou||2-run (Cosart, 7th), 3-run walk-off (Fields, 9th)|
Seager’s walk-off against Fields, selected by the Mariners in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft and traded with Erik Bedard to the Red Sox in 2011, prompted the predictable home-plate pileup as the Mariners celebrated the end of one of the nastiest losing streaks in franchise history.
In all losing streaks of eight or more games over 37+ years, the Mariners had never dropped as many as five to a last-place team. But this eight-gamer featured five such embarrassments, including three at Miami, a last-place team (NL East) when the Mariners encountered them last weekend, and a pair to the Astros (AL West).
Although other losing streaks have been longer – nine have exceeded 10 games – only three were more abysmal offensively. The Mariners averaged 2.2 runs per game, batted .208 overall and .183 with runners in scoring position and left 56 runners stranded.
They also struck out 62 times, including 14 times twice in back-to-back games against the Astros April 21-22. The lameness made this eight-game losing streak the fourth-worst stretch of futility in team history based on a .562 OPS (on base+slugging):
The only good news is that, without Seager, the Mariners would begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers Friday night at Safeco Field in last place in their division, a half game behind the Astros.
NEXT: LHP Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.22) goes Friday to start the Texas series. Elias allowed a season-high six runs (four earned) over 5.2 innings in his last start, April 19 at Miami (7-0 Seattle defeat). The Rangers will go with LHP Robbie Ross, who did not give up a run in 7.2 innings against the Mariners April 15. The first-place Rangers (14-8) took three of four from Seattle between April 14-17, have won 11 of 13 and are coming off a three-game sweep at Oakland.