By Shannon Drayer
Losses don't get much uglier than this. On the heels of a 15th-inning loss the previous night/morning, the Mariners squandered a Felix Hernandez start and a five-run lead Thursday as the bullpen gave up six runs and the team was swept by Boston.
The Mariners were forced to bring in left-hander Oliver Perez when Robby Thompson raised his left arm before signaling to the bullpen with his right. (AP)
With a 7-3 lead and the bases loaded with no one out, Thompson wanted to go to Yoervis Medina to face Shane Victorino. The call to the bullpen was made and Medina began to come out as Thompson raised his arm. The problem was, he raised his left arm. He then lowered the arm and raised it again to tap his right arm to indicate he wanted the righty. Umpire Gary Darling saw the first move as a call for the lefty.
"I did point to the pen, but I didn't have time to (tap other arm) for the right-hander," Thompson said. "He'd already turned. That's when I wanted to make sure he knew who I wanted to go to and Gary Darling said, 'It's too late, you raised your left hand up.'"
Oliver Perez, who was also warming up at the time, was forced to come in. He gave up three runs on two singles before striking out David Ortiz for the first out of the inning. Medina followed and gave up the tying and winning runs.
Thompson believed that he did nothing out of the ordinary but wanted to look at the tape to see if in fact he did violate any rules. If so, he said, he will take responsibility for that.
It is a shame he had to be put in that position in the first place. A 7-2 lead in the ninth should not turn into a loss, a fact that is not lost on Thompson.
"You know what? We've got to get three outs," he said. "We didn't get the job done in the ninth inning."
More specifically, the bullpen didn't get the job done. I will have more on the pen and its problems and possible solutions later in the day.