Mariners lose to A's on walk-off homer in 11th

Mariners lose to A's on walk-off homer in 11th

Mariners lose to A's on walk-off homer in 11th
OAKLAND -- As rookie Chris Carter's three-run, pinch-hit home run soared into the left-field seats at the Oakland Coliseum on Friday night, Mariners manager Eric Wedge's blood pressure began rising at about the same rate.

Carter's 11th inning blast sent the A's to their fifth straight win, while pushing Wedge closer to the edge as Mariners' frustrations over their lack of offense continued with a 4-1 defeat.

The loss spoiled seven shutout innings by veteran starter Kevin Millwood in his first game back after aggravating a groin muscle injury and dropped Seattle's record to 35-50 with two games remaining before the All-Star break.

Wedge indicated that the four-day stretch next week could signal time for change in his moribund offense, which struck out 14 times against five A's pitchers and couldn't cross the plate after a solo run in the first.

"It's just been Groundhog Day too many times for me," said the second-year skipper. "We're in the process of evaluating everybody and everything. We're a couple days away from the All-Star break. We're not just going to keep watching what we're watching. We're not going to watch people keep doing the same thing over and over again and live with it.

"We're going to do what we need to do to get better in the second half offensively," Wedge said. "I know how [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik] feels about it, I know how I feel about it, I know how the staff feels about it. We're not going to keep watching this over and over again. We've been patient, we've addressed things in different ways, but ultimately they're grown men out there and they're either going to get it done or they won't be here."

Oakland finally ended the pitching duel when Carter crushed his three-run shot off reliever Steve Delabar in the 11th, after the right-hander replaced Oliver Perez with one out and two runners on.

It was the eighth home run surrendered this season by Delabar, who had thrown six scoreless innings since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma a week earlier. Delabar has been working on his slider to help avoid his home-run issue, but had no chance to get to that situation as Carter hit his second offering, a 95-mph fastball.

"Coming in late like that you've got to be perfect and I wasn't perfect," Delabar said. "To say I've been working on stuff, you can only work on stuff so much. You get in a game, it's game on. You can't put a crutch on something you've been working on. It was a fastball and the fastball has been there all year. It's just the location was up a little bit and he got it."

The 6-foot-4, 244-pound Carter got all of it, indeed, launching his third home run in just 12 at-bats since his recent promotion.

"I don't know if the ball's come down yet," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "You've got to be aggressive when you go up there as a pinch-hitter. He got a first-pitch heater, and the next pitch he didn't miss."

Josh Reddick led off the 11th with a single against Perez, then moved to second on a checked-swing base hit down the third base line by Seth Smith, before Delabar replaced Perez.

Seattle had its best shot in the top of the ninth when Carlos Peguero laced a line drive to left that Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes turned into a triple when he missed a diving catch. But Dustin Ackley grounded out to leave Peguero stranded.

The Mariners didn't reach base in the 10th or 11th innings and finished the game with seven hits and rising frustration.

Millwood allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven, tying a season high. The 37-year-old lowered his ERA to 3.69 ERA, but the no-decision left his record at 3-6. Millwood has gone 0-2 with five no-decisions since his last win at Texas on May 23.

The veteran said he felt fine physically, though his leg tired in the seventh and Wedge made the right move in taking him out when he did. When asked, he offered his own suggestion for the struggling offense.

"Quit pressing," said Millwood. "I think these guys feel a lot of pressure to go up there and do something every at-bat and nobody in this league gets a hit or gets on base every at-bat. Never has been, never will be. I think guys just have to relax a little bit.

"Most of the guys here are young and it might be a little tougher for those guys, but it's not an easy game. If it were, everybody would do it. I don't know. One thing you can say, these guys never quit and they put everything they've got into it. It'll come around."

Seattle pushed across its lone run against rookie Tommy Milone in the first as Kyle Seager continued his road success with a two-out RBI single. Seager's clutch hit came after Casper Wells and Miguel Olivo had reached on base hits of their own.

Seager regained the AL lead in two-out RBIs with his 26th of the season. Of his 49 RBIs this year, 34 have come on the road.

But in the end, all that was left was the bad feeling of a frustrating loss.

"Nobody likes to lose," Delabar said. "We're all fighting here for wins and to come up after a long battle like that on the losing end of it is never fun. To be the guy at the end of the game that didn't get it done, that's a crushing blow. Let's just hope we can win one tomorrow."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.