Watch: White Sox beat Mariners in wild (rallies!), historic (Kyle Seager!), long (16 innings!) game
The White Sox’ 7-5 win in Seattle on Wednesday may have looked ordinary on the out-of-town scoreboard but, in fact, it was anything but. Never before in major league history had both teams scored five or more runs in extra innings after failing to score at all in the first nine frames. The Mariners and White Sox did it after 13 innings of a scoreless tie, but there was more history made than that. In those 13 innings, the two teams tied an American League record by grounding into a total of nine double plays, with the Mariners tying an AL mark by grounding into six of them. Oh, and we haven’t even gotten to the game’s most remarkable moment.
In his eight innings of work, Cy Young candidate Hisashi Iwakuma allowed just three Chicago baserunners, all via singles, and the White Sox didn’t get a man to second base until there were two outs in the ninth. When Chicago finally broke through in the 14th, however, it did so in a big way, scoring five runs against Mariners relievers Danny Farquhar, who, after striking out the side in the 13th, failed to retire any of the first four men in the 14th before getting the hook, and Hector Noesi. When the dust cleared, the White Sox had batted around and taken a 5-0 lead.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura then brought in his closer, Addison Reed, but with one out, the Mariners strung together four singles to push across their first run, load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Jason Bay battled Reed for seven pitches before striking out, and Reed got two quick strikes on Kyle Seager to put the White Sox one strike away from wrapping up a 5-1 win when this happened:
That was a pretty good slider by Reed — it was at the bottom of the zone and diving down and away — but Seager, who is having a fine season, hitting .283/.349/.478, good for a 134 OPS+, hit it out of the ballpark for the first game-tying grand slam in extra innings in major league history. (Incidentally, Seager played his college ball at North Carolina, which on Monday won perhaps the only game this year that can be compared to what took place in Seattle on Wednesday.)
Of course, that only tied the game. Kendrys Morales flew out on the next pitch. With both managers having effectively burned through their entire bullpens (the only unused man was Seattle closer Tom Wilhemlsen, who had pitched each of the previous two days), Noesi and Reed were left to battle it out. Noesi redeemed himself by striking out Chicago’s Casper Wells and Jeff Keppinger with the bases loaded to end the top of the 15th. Reed stranded a man in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the 15th. Then the White Sox broke through again against Noesi in the top of the 16th, pushing across two runs.
This time, Seattle was unable to answer as Reed struck out Brendan Ryan, Endy Chavez and Jason Bay in order on 11 pitches, all strikes, to deliver the White Sox a wild win.