Two nights after Brandon League blew a save opportunity in the 13th inning - his first of the season - the Seattle Mariners closer was handed a 12th inning lead and couldn't hold it, either.
All closers lose, but in his last three games League is 0-3 with a 27.08 earned run average, and lost this one, 2-1.
Wasted in the loss were 11 shutout innings, the first nine from Seattle lefty Jason Vargas, who had the misfortune of a) pitching for the Mariners offense and b) hooking up with Baltimore rookie lefty Zach Britton.
“I kept us in the game,” Vargas said, which may say more about the Seattle offense than anyone has all year. “I was up early, and that may have made them more aggressive. After the third inning, I got the ball down.”
After Miguel Olivo's two-out single scored Ichiro with the first run of the game in the top of the 12th, manager Eric Wedge went immediately to League. What followed was a baseball disaster.
League allowed a leadoff single, then hit Vladimir Guerrero with an 0-2 pitch and, with a bunt play on, drilled Adam Jones with his nex pitch to load the bases.
“I tried to throw a split-fingered fastball and it got away from me and I hit (Guerrero),” League said. “I was trying to strike him out, and I hit him, instead.'
“We thought he was bunting and we had a bunt play on,” League said. “I rushed the pitch and hit him.”
A one-out single up the middle by J.J. Hardy ended it
The Mariners offense remained in hiding. Not once in the nine innings Vargas pitched did Seattle put a runner in scoring position. For all that, in the bottom of the 12th, they had a 1-0 lead and three outs to get.
"A loss is a loss, it doesn’t matter whether I beat myself or get beat up by the other team,” League said. “Tonight, I beat myself.”