Final score: Orioles 4, Mariners 2
When the Mariners began this game, I was still 21.
Nine hours ago, I arrived at Safeco for batting practice, eager to soak up the last little bit of baseball the Mariners have to offer this season. If only I had had an inkling of what was to come.
Through the first eight innings—the first game of the night, really—Erasmo Ramirez shut out the Orioles on two hits and six strikeouts. He returned in the ninth to a standing ovation, then surrendered back-to-back singles to Ryan Flaherty and Nate McLouth. Tom Wilhelmsen blew his fourth save of the year on the third single of the inning, an RBI from Chris Davis that tied the game.
I’m not going to lie: there’s little that excites me more than the prospect of extra innings. In 38 games this year, I had yet to see bonus baseball. So, although I probably should’ve been as sad as Steven was when Wilhelmsen allowed the tying run to score, I was practically bouncing up and down in my seat instead.
I still didn’t know what I was in for.
Over the final nine innings of the game, the crowd of 12,608 dwindled to a few hundred (pictured in the above photo). Eric Wedge brought in John Jaso. Buck Showalter countered with lefty reliever Brian Matusz. Wedge then changed his mind, forfeiting the chance to use his best offensive player, and opted for Alex Liddi.
The 14th stretch came and went. By the 15th inning, even the flocks of seagulls had vanished from the outfield. The field became so quiet that, aside from a few raucous cheers by the seven remaining Orioles fans, you could hear the game broadcast echoing on the main concourse.
It finally ended in the 18th. Lucas Luetge opened the inning with a walk, followed by a pair of base hits and an RBI groundout to give the Orioles a two-run lead. The bottom half of the inning went quickly, without so much as a baserunner for the Mariners.
When this game finally, mercifully finished, I was no longer 21. And although a walk-off would’ve made for an even sweeter story, I couldn’t be happier spending the first part of my birthday at the ballpark. See you tonight, Mariners fans.
Next game: vs. Orioles | September 19 | 7:10pm