The Seattle Mariners fell to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, 7-4, after the Rays scored four runs in the seventh inning.
The first two Rays runs in that inning came on a home run by René Pinto off Mariners starter George Kirby that tied the game at 4.
Hindsight may be 20/20, but after the game, Kirby admitted to reporters that he wanted to be taken out after his sixth inning.
But it wasn’t necessarily because he allowed the home run. In fact, he thought he felt he’d reached his limit.
“I wish I wasn’t out there for the seventh [inning], to be honest,” Kirby said after the game. “I was at 90 pitches. And I didn’t think I really could go anymore. But it is what it is.”
Through six innings, Kirby was at 93 pitches. He served up the two-run shot on his 102nd and final pitch of the night, one shy of his season high.
Kirby has hit the 100-pitch mark five times this season and averages about 92 pitches per start.
The right-hander’s comments received quite the backlash on social media, and the All-Star realized his mistake.
On Saturday, he told reporters he apologized to his manager, Scott Servais, for his comments.
“Obviously, I screwed up. That’s not me. Skip’s always got to pry that ball out of my hands,” he said. “Super uncharacteristic of me as a player and who I am out on that mound. I love competing. I just screwed up and really looking forward to next week and going forward and enjoying the time with the team, get in the playoffs and getting my work done.”
Kirby was named to his first All-Star Game this season, his second in the big leagues.
He has some of the best control in all of baseball. Entering Saturday, he led the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.44) and walks per nine innings (0.9).
Kirby owns a 3.48 ERA in 27 starts this season as his Mariners are a half-game behind the Houston Astros for the AL West lead.