Despite Brendan Ryan’s best effort to lay the blame on himself for failing to make an impossible play to start the 10th inning of Seattle’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padre at Petco Park, the Mariners lost Wednesday’s game in the ninth inning.
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Closer Tom Wilhelmsen was handed the ball and a 2-1 lead to start the bottom of the ninth and asked close out a much-needed win for Seattle.
And for the second straight save situation, he couldn’t do it. Wilhelmsen was oddly ineffective allowing to the Padres to tie the game in the ninth inning.
“Tommy just didn’t have the command we’ve seen him have,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
His last save opportunity came during the miserable stretch of losses in Cleveland. He made the forgettable play of dropping the third out of the inning while covering first base that would secured the win.
This blown save was a little more prolonged, but just as painful.
Wilhelmsen walked the first batter he faced – Yasmani Grandal – on four pitches, which is never a good thing.
“That first guy gets on you are really going to have to work for it,” Wedge said.
From there, Jedd Gyorko doubled to left center to put runners on first and second with no outs. Wilhelmsen and catcher Kelly Shoppach appeared to get crossed up on their signals resulting in what was ruled a passed ball allowing the runners to move up.
Wedge then had Wilhelmsen intentionally walk Yonder Alonso to load the bases.
The Padres tied the game on Kyle Blanks’ sacrifice fly to center field. But somehow Wilhelmsen didn’t give up the winning run, getting Alexi Amarista to pop up and pinch hitter Carlos Quentin to ground out to end the inning.
“He did a good job of keeping the game a tied,” Wedge said. “But on the road, those are the ones you need to finish off.”
The Mariners went down quietly 1-2-3 in the top of the 10th.
Wedge brought on Yoervis Medina to pitch the bottom half of the inning. He never finished it.
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Chris Denorfia led off the inning with a bouncing ball up the middle. Ryan somehow got to the ball and fielded it in between his legs while spinning to throw to first. The throw was wide of the bag. And replays seemed to show that the play would have extremely close even if Ryan’s throw would have been perfect to Kendrys Morales.
But the Mariners shortstop was inconsolable about not making it.
“Oh man, I don’t how I’m going to sleep after that,” Ryan said. “It’s a makeable play. I got to it, caught it clean, good transfer … I’ve made that throw a million times. Medina, I feel bad for him, he’s going to have an ‘L’ next to his name. I want to take full responsibility for it. They get the lead-off guy on and he should have been out.”
From there, Ryan heaped more responsibility on himself. The Padres had Denorfia attempt to steal second, the hitter, Everth Cabrera, lashed a ball to short. Ryan, who was covering second on the steal, couldn’t recover to make the play.
“I should have switched the coverage,” he said. “I should have stayed home and we get at least one, maybe we get sneaky and get two out of it. But that whole inning could have been completely different. I feel like that was on me.”
How much of the regret is second guessing?
“Maybe none of it,” he said. “I see every pitch coming. I know what Medina’s ball does. There’s only one place that ball is going to go. I should have stayed home there for sure.”
With runners on first and third with no outs, Medina intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases. Will Venable won the game by lacing a ground ball just passed a diving Kendrys Morales to score Denorfia.
“If that’s another foot to the right it’s probably a 3-2-3 double play,” Wedge said.
It was the Mariners fifth walk-off loss of the season fourth in the last seven road games.
“We’ve had some tough losses the first couple of months,” Wedge said. “The worm will turn and it will come back around. We’ve had a tough schedule. But no excuses. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. We just have to keep fighting.”
The Mariners got the 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, courtesy of Jason Bay’s sixth homer of the season – a solo shot to left off of Padres closer Huston Street.
Bay’s homer was just one of four hits. Padres’ lefty Erik Stults shutdown the Mariners, giving up one run on three hits over eight innings and striking out 12.
Seattle got a solid outing from starter Joe Saunders, who had struggled on the road this season. Saunders tossed seven innings, allowing one run – a first inning homer – on four hits, while no walks and three strikeouts.
“It was nice to keep the team in the game,” Saunders said. “With the way Stults was pitching, I had to keep throwing up zeroes. I just made one mediocre pitch to Headley. After that, I just kept telling myself to keep making pitches and keep the ball down.”