Mariners lament fitful finish vs. Twins

Mariners lament fitful finish vs. Twins

SEATTLE -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said he'd never seen a play like it in his forty-some years in baseball. And the Mariners hope to never seen another one like it, certainly not at their expense, after ending a 6-5 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night on a rare 2-4-5-6 double play as two runners were tagged out following a rundown.

Call it the ultimate twin killing.

With pinch runner Shawn O'Malley on third and Kyle Seager on first with one out in the bottom of the ninth against Twins closer Kevin Jepsen, Seager took off for second base when a curveball in the dirt got away from catcher Juan Centeno.

But Centeno fielded the ball and fired to second quickly enough that Seager got caught in a run down. O'Malley started breaking for home, but tried to dive back to third when second baseman Brian Dozier pulled out of the run down and fired to Eduardo Nunez.

Nunez tagged O'Malley right as his hand reached the base, then fired to second to tag Seager as he attempted to advance again.

"That was about as abnormal an ending to a game as you're going to see," acknowledged Mariners skipper Scott Servais.

"A lot of it blurs together over about four decades, I guess," said Molitor, "but to record a double play where there's not a force in order like that in a situation where the tying run is 90 feet away, it's just a bizarre ending."

Seager said he was "probably trying to be a little too aggressive" after seeing Jepsen throw a curve in the dirt that got away from Centeno on the previous at-bat to Dae-Ho Lee.

"He got ahead in the count, it was definitely like a curveball count," Seager said of Jepsen's battle with Franklin Gutierrez. "He's got the good fastball and good curveball, so I was trying to be aggressive on a curveball in the dirt. The catcher did a really nice job of smothering it and made a nice throw and it didn't work out too well."

Servais said O'Malley did the right thing in trying to force a throw his way to save Seager, but the Twins executed perfectly.

"Bang-bang, it was very close [at third]," said Servais, who unsuccessfully challenged the out calls at both bases. "I have not seen a replay, but everybody said it was real close at third and then we got doubled up out of it. Tough way to lose a game, but we had many, many chances early in this game to break it open and didn't really take advantage of it."

Indeed, the Mariners failed to take advantage of 14 hits and four walks as they went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners. But it was the final two runners who weren't stranded, but instead thrown out on the same play, that will remain tough to forget in this one.

"I probably should have just stayed home, but I was thinking score," said O'Malley, who was pinch running for Nelson Cruz after Cruz led off the ninth with a walk. "I wanted to win the game and unfortunately it ended up costing us. It's a learning opportunity and hopefully it doesn't happen again."

Count O'Malley among those shaking his head over the stunning and sudden finish in a game where the Mariners seemed on the verge of pulling off another late rally.

"I don't know if I've ever seen it and I've definitely never been a part of one [like that]," O'Malley said. "But that's baseball, man. Crazy things happen sometimes. Obviously you hope they never happen to you or your team, but they do. There's still a lot of baseball left to be played, so we just need to push that aside and get after it tomorrow."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.