Mariners 7, Rays 6: Close, but not close enough
A Mitch Haniger grand slam sealed the Rays’ fate early.
The Rays started off well enough. With two runners on base and a full count with two outs, Jake Odorizzi was able to get Seager to chase a fastball out of the zone to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Tampa was able to add a little support for Jake. Kiermaier scored on a two-out RBI single from sizzling catcher Wilson Ramos, and the Rays lead 1-0.
Odorizzi found himself in more trouble in the second inning, walking Mike Zunino to load the bases with just one out. He struck out Jean Segura on a splitter down and in, and then got a medium depth flyball out of Yonder Alonso so escape the threat.
Odorizzi would pay for his poor fastball command in the third inning, however. Two singles and a walk would load the bases in the third with Mitch Hangier coming to the plate. Coming back from a DL stint for a lip laceration after taking a Jacob DeGrom fastball to the face in July, he made his presence felt with a bang, taking a cutter up in the zone out to left for a grand slam.
Now trailing 4-1, the Rays were able to respond in the bottom half of the third inning. Peter Bourjos lined a double down the left field line, giving Kevin Kiermaier an opportunity to show off his wheels and scoring from first base.
Trouble continued in the fourth inning for Odorizzi. Jean Segura lead off with a double, followed by an RBI single from Yonder Alonso. Robinson Cano made solid contact but a nice catch from Daniel Robertson took away a hit. The next batter, however, wouldn’t have his hit stolen. Nelson Cruz took a fastball up and away in the strikezone out to right field for a two-run home run, and the Mariners expanded their lead to 7-2. A two-out walk to Haniger would end Odorizzi’s trying night. The line for Jake wound up being 3 2⁄3 IP 8 H 7 ER 5 BB 2 K, a subpar performance to say the least.
After the fourth inning, the Rays showed signs of life. Chase Whitley pitched a 1-2-3 top of the fifth inning, and Dan Jennings came in and put up a zero in the sixth inning. In the bottom half, Steven Souza took Ariel Miranda deep for his first home run off a left-handed pitcher on the season. That would close the night for Miranda, who pitched through five innings and let up three runs.
Later in the inning, with Emilio Pagan on the mound, Lucas Duda launched a towering flyball to right field that just got out for a two-run home run, and all of a sudden the Rays closed the gap to two runs.
After the sixth inning, the Rays’ and Mariners exchanged shut down innings. Marc Rzepczynski and Tony Zych combined to get through the seventh inning, while Nick Vincent struck out the side in the eighth. On the Rays side, Sergio Romo, Steve Cishek and Alex Colome shut the Mariners down from the seventh to the ninth, continuing the Rays’ bullpen’s crazy run of success in August.
In the ninth, volatile closer Edwin Diaz came in looking for his 27th save. He got Adeiny Hechavarria on a routine groundball, but pinch-hitter Logan Morrison had bigger things on his mind. After swinging through two fastballs up and away, Morrison drove a mistake fastball down and out to right-center field for a solo home run, and the Rays trailed by just one run. He got Kevin Kiermaier on three pitches and Corey Dickerson grounded out weakly back to Diaz to finish the game.
The Rays fall to 60-65 on the season in the midst of a near month long team slumber, and 0-5 against the Mariners. The Rays will try to stave off a sweep tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. in the final game of this three game series.
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