Mariners' George Kirby apologizes to manager Scott Servais for wishing for earlier removal

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby (68) reacts as Tampa Bay Rays' Rene Pinto (50) runs around the bases after his two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERBURG, Fla (AP) — Seattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby apologized to manager Scott Servais for saying he wished he wasn’t sent back to the mound for the seventh inning of a 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay after reaching the 90-pitch mark.

Servais said he talked with the 25-year-old right-hander “for a long time” both Friday night and Saturday morning.

“He said ‘Skip, that’s not who I am,” Servais said before Saturday's game. “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 think with George is, we move forward. Love having him out there.”

Seattle led 4-2 when Kirby returned to the mound in the seventh. After Taylor Wells grounded out, Jose Siri doubled and René Pinto followed with a tying homer on Kirby’s 102 and final pitch.

“Obviously, I screwed up,” Kirby told reporters before Saturday’s game. “That’s not me. 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.”

Kirby is 10-9 with a 3.48 ERA in 27 starts this season.

“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.”