BALTIMORE – It came undone on Shawn Kelley’s 25th pitch, a 14th-inning slider that infielder Omar Quintanilla grounded up the middle – and Dustin Ackley snared with a diving stop.
Ackley threw to Mike Carp at first base, and while the throw beat the runner by plenty, umpire Brian Knight ruled Carp had pulled his foot from the bag.
It was the play that set up Baltimore’s 8-7 victory over Seattle, with the winning run delivered by Quintanilla on a game-winning single by ex-Mariner Adam Jones.
Carp was livid. Manager Eric Wedge argued and was ejected. And a frustrated Mariners team is now 1-4 on a trip that may define the second half of their season.
“I’ve got nothing to say about the play,” Carp said in the clubhouse. “The whole country will see it, and I just hope someone has the decency to say something.”
“He was out. Ackley made a great play, Carp was on the bag,” Wedge said. “It was evident he was on the bag.
“You had two teams fighting like hell in the 14th inning, and it’s just a shame an umpire had to get involved there.”
In any 14-inning game where 15 runs are scored, there are a dozen moments that might have changed the outcome. After Quintanilla’s single, Kelley, in his third inning, thought he could get out of the jam.
“I’ve pitched plenty of innings where the leadoff man gets on,” Kelley said. “I wanted to be out there. I thought I could get a ground ball and get us out of it.”
Instead, Nick Markakis singled – his fourth hit – a blooper over the infield that was followed by a sacrifice bunt. With one out, the Mariners elected to walk the bases loaded and hope for a double play or a strikeout.
Jones lined a sinking drive into right field, where Casper Wells made a dive, made contact with the ball but never had any real chance, except in his mind.
“I should have caught it,” Wells said.
In a game marked by 15 runs and 33 hits, neither team had scored since the seventh inning, when the Orioles turned a three-run home run off Lucas Luetge – the first he’d ever allowed in the majors – into a tie game.
Often accused of being unable to put teams away, the Mariners could be forgiven Tuesday for thinking they had.
When Baltimore played a little loose defense in the first inning, Seattle wound up with two men on base and two out for Kyle Seager, the king of the two-out RBI.
Seager took a Zach Britton pitch over the wall in right-center field for a 3-0 lead that left him with a club-leading 66 RBI – and a major league-leading 40 two-out RBI.
An inning later, the Mariners moved out to a 5-0 lead.
Blake Beavan worked through a hot, humid night throwing a lot of pitches but working out of trouble more often than not. Baltimore got two against him in the second inning, narrowing the score to 5-2.
Carp and Ackley had RBI in the sixth inning and Seattle pulled further ahead, 7-2.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who’d homered in the second inning, did so again in the sixth, but Beavan got through that inning ahead, 7-3, having thrown 95 pitches.
Not quite. With right-handed hitter Mark Reynolds due to open the seventh inning, and left-hander Luetge ready to work, Wedge asked Beavan to face one last hitter.
Beavan did – and Reynolds doubled.
“I should have done better than allowing four runs,” Beavan said.
That brought in Luetge, who seemed to carry bad luck with him in his 46th appearance. The first man he faced, Quintanilla, grounded through a diving Ackley, who seemed stunned the ball wound up in the outfield.
The next man, Nick Markakis, parachuted a little pop fly just beyond shortstop Munenori Kawasaki and into short center field, good for a run that made it 7-4.
“Those were just good pitches gone bad,” Luetge said. “I wouldn’t change them; it’s just a game of inches.”
That produced a lefty-righty matchup, Luetge versus shortstop J.J. Hardy. Luetge left a pitch over the middle and Hardy hammered it deep into the left-field stands for his 16th home run of the season.
“Fastball that came back over the middle,” Luetge said.
As the innings ticked by, the Mariners could look back on a Jones throw in the sixth inning, when Carp scored Seattle’s seventh run of the night on Ackley’s RBI single but Miguel Olivo was tagged out trying to score on the same hit.
Olivo screamed he’d gotten a hand in before being tagged, and Wedge argued with plate umpire Mark Wegner, who listened but didn’t change his call.
What neither team could do, once the score was tied, was break through against the other’s bullpen.
Stephen Pryor, Josh Kinney, Oliver Perez and Kelley retired 16 consecutive Orioles hitters until Kelley’s two-out walk in the 13th. He followed that by getting a popup from Reynolds, and it was on to the email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue