Call this one a giveaway.
The Mariners were one on-line throw by Brad Miller away from a third consecutive victory Sunday afternoon before letting it slip away in a 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 11 innings.
The end came when Tyler Saladino flicked a two-out RBI single into right field against David Rollins.
But the backbreaker occurred in the ninth inning when Miller committed a two-out throwing error that permitted the tying run to score. He drew the start at shortstop because rookie Ketel Marte is nursing a strained right hamstring.
“Obviously, I was trying to make the play,” Miller said, “and I pulled it a little bit. It really wasn’t even close. I had it secured. No rush or anything. It wasn’t online.”
Trayce Thompson started the ninth inning with a single, but Carson Smith struck out Alexei Ramirez and pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck. Thompson stole second on Shuck’s swinging third strike.
But the game should have ended when pinch-hitter Carlos Sanchez hit a grounder that Miller easily fielded up the middle. Miller simply made a dreadful throw to first that Logan Morrison had no chance to corral.
“It happens, I guess,” Morrison said.
Thompson scored from second.
“It was just a bad throw,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I don’t know how you can analyze it any other way. It was a throw that pulled the first baseman off the bag. If it’s a good throw, we win a ballgame.”
Miller had no trouble when Saladino followed with a grounder to short. That sent the game to extra innings, when momentum swung toward the White Sox, who called on closer David Robertson (6-3) for two innings.
The Mariners, in contrast, were down to Rollins, a rookie lefty who worked around Melky Cabrera’s two-out double in the 10th inning before the White Sox broke through in the 11th.
Ramirez started the winning rally with a one-out single into center. After Rollins (0-1) issued a four-pitch walk to Tyler Flowers, Sanchez hit a fly to deep right that moved Ramirez to third.
Then Saladino won the game and, after 4 hours and 1 minute, the Mariners limped out of town with a disappointing split in the four-game series.
The Mariners blew leads of 2-0, 4-1 and 5-4 but never trailed until the end.
“Our young relievers did a tremendous job for us today,” McClendon said. “Our young starter did a tremendous job. We had a great opportunity to win a game. We had two outs and a ground ball, and we messed it up.”
Lefty Edgar Olmos, in a spot start, handed a 4-3 lead to just-recalled Mayckol Guaipe after five innings.
While Guaipe made it unscathed through the sixth, he served up a leadoff homer in the seventh to Cabrera on an arrow-straight fastball. Cabrera had four of Chicago’s 14 hits.
But the Mariners regained the lead in the eighth inning by stirring with two outs against White Sox lefty Zach Duke. First, Austin Jackson lined a triple into the right-center gap for his third hit.
Kyle Seager followed with his third hit, a line drive into center on a full-count fastball, for an RBI single. Seager also had a two-run homer in the first inning that staked Olmos to an early lead.
Rob Rasmussen, armed with that 5-4 lead, started the Chicago eighth by striking out Saladino, but Adam Eaton reached on a bunt single.
The Mariners then turned to Smith, who struck out Jose Abreu before Cabrera punched a single to left. Adam LaRoche batted for Avisail Garcia and flied out.
That got the game to the ninth.
Chicago lefty Jose Quintana got off to a rocky start and never found a groove — although he escaped bases-loaded jams in the third and fourth innings. He exited with two on and one out in the fifth.
As happened Saturday night, the Mariners jumped to a quick lead on a Seager homer in the first inning. This one followed a leadoff single by Jackson and traveled 430 feet into the right-field seats.
It was Seager’s 21st homer overall, and his fourth in five games.
Olmos then began the Chicago first by walking Eaton, who appeared picked off when he broke for second. But Morrison simply didn’t catch Olmos’ throw.
Eaton wound up at third.
Abreu then reached on another Morrison error. This time, Morrison got his footwork crossed up and wasn’t on the base as he took the throw from Miller.
“I didn’t see the ball off Abreu’s bat,” Morrison said, “and I didn’t see the pickoff. It can’t happen, and it did. I don’t know what to tell you. It was just bad.”
The worst was yet to come.