Seager, offense sizzle, but Mariners drop finale

Seager, offense sizzle, but Mariners drop finale

Seager, offense sizzle, but Mariners drop finale
PHOENIX -- In the eighth inning of a tie game on Tuesday, the Mariners elected to walk D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill to load the bases and pitch to the face of the Arizona franchise instead.

The move paid off for Mariners manager Eric Wedge, as Shawn Kelley struck out Justin Upton swinging.

Faced with a nearly identical situation on Wednesday with the score tied in the fifth, Wedge again decided to issue a free pass to the scorching hot Hill and instead deal with Upton, who was hitless in his last nine at-bats.

This time around the move backfired in the worst possible way.

Upton drove a fastball into the left-center field stands for a three-run homer, as the D-backs hit six long balls off of Mariners pitching on Wednesday to run away with the rubber match of the three-game Interleague series, 14-10, at Chase Field.

"It's always the risk you take and the chance you take," Wedge said. "Whenever you're putting people on base you're taking a risk."

Over the three-game set, the D-backs combined for 10 homers and 30 runs against the Mariners, with 19 coming against Seattle starting pitchers.

"That's baseball," Wedge said. "They just really squared up the ball against us."

On Wednesday it was Jason Vargas who took the beating. Entering with a 3.95 ERA, Vargas surrendered 10 runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two.

"It's one of those days," Wedge said. "He had an off day, he wasn't in command of the ball and he was working behind in the count."

In his 112 career starts entering Wednesday, the 29-year-old had never allowed double-digit runs.

"I pitched way too up in the strike zone today, when you get behind on guys and pitch up, it's going to happen," Vargas said. "Obviously, they swung the bats well, you can't take anything away from them, but I gave them some opportunities and they didn't miss any of them. An adjustment has to be made, you can't keep going out there and give up home runs like that."

Kyle Seager was the silver lining for the Mariners. He capped off his stellar series with a 3-for-5 afternoon at the plate, driving in two and scoring twice. The 24-year-old totaled seven hits in the three games, with two homers and six RBIs.

"I got some good work in in the cage, and I'm starting to feel better," Seager said. "The last couple games, we've hit some balls hard and we're making good contact."

The fireworks started early at Chase Field, as the D-backs jumped on Vargas in the first inning with solo home runs off the bats of Hill and Paul Goldschmidt.

Vargas got temporary revenge at the plate two innings later, when he collected just his third base hit since 2006 with a single to right.

After the next three batters all followed with consecutive hits to give the Mariners the lead, Seager delivered the loudest at-bat of the inning with a two-run homer deep into the right-field bleachers, putting Seattle on top, 5-2.

"They came at us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They never quit."

The lead didn't last long. In the fourth inning the D-backs once again played long ball at Vargas' expense with a two-run shot from Miguel Montero and a solo blast from John McDonald to tie the game, 5-5.

The D-backs added four more insurance runs off of the Mariners bullpen.

Lucas Luetge, who entered the series with 16 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, allowed a run for the second straight day, while Hisashi Iwakuma served up an inside-the-park homer to Ryan Roberts.

With the game out of reach, the Mariners inflated the final score in the eighth inning with four runs, three of which came on a Franklin Gutierrez pinch-hit homer.

"The offense was encouraging, and the fight was encouraging," Wedge said. "Being behind that much and still swinging and still battling. We had some good at-bats."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.