The Seattle Mariners appeared destined for a 2-0 win on Tuesday night. The Baltimore Orioles managed to tie the game in the top of the ninth and force a marathon contest that would continue on past midnight and into the wee hours of the morning. When all was said and done, the Mariners dropped their second straight game to the Orioles by a score of 4-2. It took 18 innings to finally get there.
Miguel Olivo broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run homer. Olivo's 11th home run of the year gave the M's a 2-0 lead that they would carry all the way into the ninth inning.
The Mariners put runners on base in both the ninth and 10th innings but were unable to push the winning run across. Seattle managed to escape a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 11th, but squandered yet another opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Justin Smoak led off the inning with a single, but for the second straight inning, the Mariners popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt. Olivo continued his unusual night with a stolen base to add to his two rare walks, but Eric Thames struck out to strand him on second.
Dustin Ackley took matters into his own hands as he led off the bottom of the 12th with a booming double against the base of the outfield wall. Franklin Gutierrez was unable to advance the runner and the Orioles then intentionally walked Kyle Seager to pitch to Jesus Montero, who promptly struck out. Trayvon Robinson also struck out to end the 12th, making it six straight innings that ended with a Mariners strikeout.
The game continued on to the 15th inning, where the M's once again put two men on with two out, but Casper Wells grounded out to end the potential rally. And on the game sped, unhindered by runs. In the bottom of the 16th, Olivo led off with his third walk of the game and was successfully bunted to second, then moved to third on an Ackley groundout. Franklin Gutierrez flied out to right field and the torture continued.
The O's got runners at first and third in the top of the 17th, but a pair of hard-hit line drives to shortstop and second base kept the game tied. Kyle Seager led off the bottom of the 17th with a double, but similar to Ackley's leadoff double in the 12th, he was left stranded on second base, making the M's 0-for-17 on the night with runners in scoring position.
The Orioles finally broke through in the 18th inning. Lucas Luetge allowed a leadoff walk to McLouth and gave up back-to-back singles to J.J. Hardy and Taylor Teagarden to drive him in. The M's intentionally walked the bases loaded to set up the force play. Mark Reynolds grounded into a force play, but another run scored on the play. The Mariners headed to the bottom of the 18th down by a pair of runs.
The bottom of the 18th was decidedly anticlimactic, as the Mariners went quietly and in order and were left to think about missed opportunities. There were plenty to go around in this one.
The Orioles now move back into a virtual tie with the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East. The Mariners will try to avoid being swept at home on Wednesday.
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