Mark Carlson calls strike three during Mariners-Nationals game Photo credit: MLB Network and Root Sports

The Seattle Mariners received an assist from the home plate umpire that left their own broadcaster stunned as they escaped a late rally by the Washington Nationals Monday night.

With Washington trailing 8-3 at the start of the ninth inning in Seattle, they scored one and loaded the bases, bringing Jeimer Candelario to the plate as the tying run. Mariners closer Paul Sewald threw a two out, two strike pitch that appeared well outside, but home plate umpire Mark Carlson seemed intent on clocking out for the night.

“The 1-2,” Mariners’ play-by-play voice Aaron Goldsmith began on Root Sports Northwest as Sewald entered his windup. And as Carlson punched out Candelario on the obvious ball, even Goldsmith couldn’t hide his surprise. “Strike three called – If you say so! And the Mariners win it.”

Admittedly, I did not watch the entire game between the Mariners and Nationals on Monday to know whether Carlson had a big strike zone the entire night or if the final pitch was an anomaly. But even if Carlson was liberal with his strike zone throughout the game, Sewald’s final pitch didn’t deserve that same treatment.

The blunt “if you say so” line from Goldsmith was fleeting but telling. Seattle took the win, but there was no way to mask that Carlson punching Candelario out on the final pitch was a brutal call. Maybe Carlson stretched his strike zone fearing the Nationals could extend the 2 hour and 42-minute game with a grand slam to force extra innings. It resulted in a win for Seattle and a win for the fans who are clamoring for the imminent automated strike zone system.

[MLB Network, Root Sports Northwest]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to