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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Kirby: ‘I screwed up’ wishing to not pitch in 7th

Seattle Mariners right-hander George Kirby regrets one pitch from Friday night and didn’t even want to be on the mound when it happened.

Kirby gave up a score-tying two-run homer to Tampa Bay‘s René Pinto in the seventh inning on what was his 102nd and final pitch of the game.

“I wish I wasn’t out there for the seventh [inning], to be honest,” Kirby said after the game.

“I was at 90 pitches,” Kirby said, “and I didn’t think I really could go any more. But it is what it is.”

The Rays pulled away for a 7-4 victory while Kirby earned a no-decision.

On Saturday, Kirby said he “screwed up” with Friday’s postgame comments.

“Obviously I screwed up. That’s not me,” Kirby said Saturday. “Skip’s always got to pry that ball out of my hands. Just super uncharacteristic of me as a player and who I am out on that mound. I love competing. Like I said, I just screwed up.”

Manager Scott Servais said he talked to Kirby “for a long time” on Friday night and Saturday morning.

“He said ‘Skip, that’s not who I am,'” Servais said Saturday. “We all know George is a very fiery — he’s a competitor. He’s learning. It’s an opportunity to learn moving forward. The biggest thing with George is, we move forward. Love having him out there.”

“When you make mistakes that only affects yourself, it’s not that big of a deal,” Servais said. “But once it starts affecting other people, that’s kind of when you take notice. I think this is one George will learn from.”

Kirby, 25, is 10-9 with a 3.48 ERA and was a first-time All-Star this season. He leads the Mariners with 17 quality starts and has exceeded 100 pitches five times this year. However, Kirby has not won a game since Aug. 5, a stretch that has seen him go 0-1 with four no-decisions.

In his second year in the majors, the 2019 first-round pick has thrown a career-high 165⅔ innings for a Mariners team that is looking to make consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in over 20 years.

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