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Mariners waste chances, lose on walk-off

Mariners lose on walk-off homer

TORONTO -- Opportunity kept knocking for the Mariners on Saturday afternoon, but no one answered and it finally left them fit to be tied -- and beaten.

A season-long habit of leaving runners on base haunted the Mariners more often than usual, costing them a chance to win their 81st game of the season.

Instead, back-to-back opposite-field home runs by Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind in the eighth and 10th innings stung Seattle with a 5-4 setback before 29,783 at Rogers Centre.

Besides numerous missed scoring opportunities, and a routine toss back to the pitcher that got away and led to the first Jays run being scored, the strangest thing of all might have been Ichiro Suzuki's ejection in the fifth inning.

He was tossed after being called out on strikes, becoming the first Mariners player, coach or manager to get kicked out of a game this season.

While Ichiro was ejected for the first time in his professional career, the other Mariners were mostly dejected by what could have been a wire-to-wire victory.

"If you continue to make mistakes over and over again, they are going to come back and haunt you," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "The game really shouldn't have been that close."

Even without the Major League hits leader around for the second half of the game, the Mariners collected 13 hits and were in position to tack on a bunch of runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

They had 13 baserunners, but only three of them scored.

The agony was especially strong in the sixth and eighth innings, when shortstop Josh Wilson and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez each grounded into inning-ending double plays.

"That's seven double plays in two of three games we've played here," Wakamatsu sighed.

Each of the DPs was set up by uncertainty on the bases.

Jack Hannahan was on second base with one out in the sixth, when rookie catcher Adam Moore sent a pop-up into shallow right-center. Hannahan had to hold up to see if the ball would be caught, and although it landed safely and bounced away from the Jays right-fielder, Hannahan had to stop at third.

With the bases loaded, Wilson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Two innings later, again with runners on first and second and one out, Michael Saunders hit a line drive to center. Moore, who was on second, thought the ball would be caught and started back to second.

The ball hit off Vernon Wells' glove, but by the time Moore changed directions, he also had to be held up at third.

With the bases loaded again, Gutierrez also grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

"We had a chance to score Moore's hits over second base, and didn't," Wakamatsu said. "When that happens, you just know something is going to come back and bite you."

It certainly did.

Starter Ian Snell, pitching what Wakamatsu called his best game since being acquired from the Pirates, was outstanding. He handed a two-run lead over to the bullpen in the sixth inning.

The lead vanished in the eighth inning when right-hander Mark Lowe surrendered a double to Aaron Hill leading off and Lind hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left field to tie the game.

Lind untied it in the 10th with a similar shot to left field off Shawn Kelley, also on a 1-0 pitch.

"They were almost identical pitches, up and away to a guy who is arguably their best hitter with power," Wakamatsu said. "Those mistakes will cost you and they did today."

The Mariners built a three-run lead for Snell in the first four innings.

Moore, who had driven in Matt Tuiasosopo with a double into right-center, was on third base with one out in the fifth, when Ichiro was called out on strikes and ejected from the game.

The inning continued and Moore scored on a wild pitch while Gutierrez was coaxing a walk from Jays starter David Purcey. Jose Lopez followed with a single, but the inning ended when Mike Sweeney bounced into a force play.

Toronto's first run of the game was a fluke.

Lyle Overbay lined a double into left-center and advanced to third when Snell somehow missed Tuiasosopo's routine throw after the play had ended. The ball rolled toward the first-base line, allowing Overbay to reach third.

He scored on a ground out to second.

"I lost it in the lights," Snell said. "It was like either get hit in the face and bust my nose or get a black eye, or get out of the way. The first thing I did was move. Not Tui's fault, but it happens."

Bautista pulled the Jays within one run in the sixth with a leadoff homer.

"It's a shame to squander an outing like that from Ian Snell," Wakamatsu said. "I thought that was the best game I have seen him pitch. I was talking to Moore and even the umpire [Brian Runge], and they were commenting about the quality of his pitches, the movement of his pitches. He did it all today. It was an outstanding outing by him."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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