The score was knotted 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth Sunday at Safeco Field in Seattle when the unthinkable happened. Well, it would've been unthinkable except we're talking about the hard-luck Arizona Diamondbacks.
Veteran Tony Clark, who's about the only true first baseman the D-Backs have left because of injuries, dropped a routine throw from third baseman Mark Reynolds and a run scored, giving the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 victory over Arizona and a sweep of the three-game series.
The guy on the other end of that play, Reynolds, had a chance to be the hero of the game for the Snakes when he hit a two-run homer to center in the eighth to give his team a 2-1 lead.
But Arizona's bullpen, as usual, didn't get the job done after starter Doug Davis left the game after seven innings, giving up seven hits and a run. The eighth inning has been hell for the Diamondbacks this year, and it was no different Sunday.
Mariners' first baseman Mike Carp singled and took second on a throwing error. Then the tying run scored when a chopper by center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was deflected off the pitcher's glove, giving Arizona no play at the plate.
Reynolds' 19th homer of the season was Seattle ace Felix Hernandez's only big mistake in 7 1/3 innings. Known as King Felix to Seattle fans, he gave up six hits and struck out eight.
Too bad Clark's blunder was so much bigger. Reynolds' throw hit the pocket of Clark's glove, but inexplicably popped out, dropping the jaws of his teammates. An out on the play would've retired the side and sent the game into extra innings.
Of note was that the Mariners' great lead-off hitter, Ichiro Suzuki, recorded his 1,901st hit Sunday. The Japanese sensation went three for four against Arizona to raise his batting average to .358, the highest in the majors.
Another deflection Saturday night, this time off the glove of starting pitcher Billy Buckner -- had he let it go -- would've turned into a likely double-play. But instead it ignited the Mariners, who went on to win 7-3.
Seattle starter Jason Vargas, after dodging trouble in the first inning, retired 17 batters before Justin Upton homered in the seventh to tie the game. But the night belonged to the Mariners, who added their final three runs in that troublesome eighth.
Friday night, the Snakes' 4-3 loss was once again the fault of (you guessed it) the bullpen. And the killer blow came in (you guessed it) the freakin' eighth.
We won't bore you with ancient history, except to say that fabled slugger Ken Griffey Jr., in the twilight of his career, smacked a two-run homer to beat the D-Backs.
The Mariners went to 35-34 on the season and look like a playoff contender; they're 2 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West. Arizona dropped to 29-41 and into the cellar of the National League West, 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Texas Rangers, in first place in the AL West with a 37-31 record, are next up for the Diamondbacks Tuesday through Thursday at Chase Field. The Rangers were swept by the San Francisco Giants after managing just three hits Sunday to lose 3-2. Andruw Jones, the former Atlanta Braves slugger, was the only bright spot for Texas yesterday, hitting a two-run homer in the seventh.
Tuesday's probable starting pitchers are right-hander Max Scherzer (4-4, 3.58 ERA) for Arizona and lefty Matt Harrison (4-4, 5.43 ERA) for the Rangers. Games start at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. For more information, go to www.dbacks.com.
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