Lopez's blooper lifts M's over A's in 15th

BY foxsports • May 4, 2009

Jose Lopez ended a long afternoon with a short fly ball.

Lopez blooped an RBI single in the 15th inning and the Seattle Mariners, after pulling off a pair of late rallies, beat the Oakland Athletics 8-7 Sunday in the longest game in the majors this season.

"That's a game we could have easily folded up and went home, but we didn't," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I said all along I wanted to use everyone, but not to that extent."

Kenji Johjima hit a tying home run in the ninth and Ichiro Suzuki's two-out single in the 13th capped a three-run comeback for the Mariners. A throwing error by Dana Eveland (1-2) set up the winning run.

The game lasted 5 hours, 2 minutes. It was the longest by innings and time in 2009, the Elias Sports Bureau said. The Mariners used eight pitchers and the A's five. There were 526 pitches thrown.

"Even when we were down three, we kept fighting," Seattle's Mike Sweeney said. "There was a stirring in the dugout, like, 'Hey boys, this is our game to win. We haven't played this long today to let this one slip away. Keep fighting, keep having good at-bats.' And we did exactly that."

Franklin Gutierrez opened the 15th with a soft single against Eveland, who started Friday night and pitched 4 2-3 innings. Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a sacrifice bunt that Eveland threw wildly into center field, putting runners at second and third.

Suzuki was intentionally walked to set up Lopez with the bases loaded. He lifted a shallow fly, but center fielder Rajai Davis broke back on the ball and couldn't recover in time to catch it.

"There is not too much pressure in that - bases loaded, nobody out," Lopez said.

Lopez had a chance to win it in the 13th after Suzuki's tying single, but he fouled with runners at the corners.

Jason Vargas (1-0), called up Saturday from Triple-A Tacoma, picked up the win. It was his first big league appearance since July 3, 2007, with the Mets.

Johjima's solo homer with one out in the ninth made it 4-all. He connected off Russ Springer, seeking his first save since 2001 when he was with Arizona.

Springer was forced into the closer's role because Brad Ziegler has had the flu for the past four days. Springer also gave up the game-winning hit to Lopez in the Mariners' 8-7 victory Friday night.

The A's scored three times in the 13th off Miguel Batista, the seventh of eight Seattle pitchers. Landon Powell, who had three hits, put Oakland ahead with a two-run double and scored on a single by Orlando Cabrera.

The Mariners made it 7-all in the bottom half against Gio Gonzalez, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Gutierrez drew a bases-loaded walk, Betancourt had an RBI groundout and Suzuki slapped a single up the middle.

"It shows the character of this club, down three runs and you can come back and have some just phenomenal at-bats, taking some walks," Wakamatsu said. "This was a game of attrition."

Gonzalez threw 108 pitches in five innings of relief.

"We got the three-run lead and it was his only bad inning," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "A couple walks that inning led to the runs. Other than that he threw the ball pretty well."

Sweeney hit a two-run homer for the Mariners in the fourth - the 200th home run of his career and first since April 26, 2008, with Oakland against Seattle.

"It's a small milestone for a big league player. But for a guy like me, a late-round draft pick, a guy who takes pride in my work ethic, it's quite an honor," said Sweeney, who nearly retired after the A's released him last season.

Jack Cust also hit a two-run shot for the A's.

A's rookie starter Josh Outman had held the Mariners to four hits over the first six innings, leaving with a 4-2 lead.


Plate umpire Derryl Cousins worked his 4,000th major league game. ... The Mariners signed OF Jerry Owens to a minor league deal. He was designated for assignment by the White Sox on May 1 and elected to become a free agent. ... Mariners reliever Denny Stark entered in the seventh after more than four years away from the game. He last pitched for Colorado on July 19, 2004, then underwent two elbow transplant operations. He came up with the Mariners in 1999 and last pitched for Seattle on Oct. 6, 2001.

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