Seattle Mariners vs Tampa Bay Rays
By Chris Davis
As winners of 15 of their last 19 games the Seattle Mariners have put themselves in a great position going into their current road trip. Hoping to continue the hot streak Marco Gonzales (6-3, 3.38 era) took the mound against the middling Tampa Bay Rays.
Gonzales came into the game having allowed only one run in his last 26 innings pitched. It appears that he is becoming the true number two starter that the team needs behind James Paxton. His command has been very impressive, and he has found a clear blueprint for success.
Gonzales mixes his pitches extremely well. He works the outer parts of the plate and has developed a deadly out pitch in his back-foot slider.
The Rays once again used an opener, as Wilmer Font took the mound to start the game and promptly struck out 4 of the first six batters he faced.
The Mariners would get to Font in the 3rd. After Ben Gamel worked a leadoff walk and Guillermo Heredia reached on a check-swing roller, Dan Vogelbach lined a single into left scoring Gamel. Heredia then scored on a Jean Segura groundout, and the Mariners had a 2-0 lead.
In the 4th the Mariners loaded the bases with one out. Heredia would bring home a run with a soft grounder to short that Daniel Robertson bobbled, but that was all they would get, the Mariners led 3-0.
Carlos Gomez came to bat in the bottom of the 4th for the Rays. His at-bat ended in a routine flyout, but for some reason, his walk-up song was the ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ theme song. This may have been the strangest walk-up song of all-time. Something Gomez needs to explain, thankfully Gonzales was not amused.
Mitchell Evan Haniger extended the Mariners lead to 4-0 when he drove Jean Segura home with a single. This was the 15th time Haniger had driven Segura home. A Stockton to Malone type relationship seems to be building between these two former Diamondbacks.
It would have been a 5-0 Mariners lead but Kyle Seager was sent back to 3rd after Mike Zunino‘s shot down the line was called a ground rule double. The ball appeared to roll under some equipment that had been set up by one of the bullpens and was therefore out of play. It was an unfortunate turn for Zunino and an example of why Tropicana Field must go.
The Rays would get on the board in the 5th, Christian Arroyo blasted a home run to left and it was 4-1 heading to the 6th.
Gonzales continued to be nails going 7⅓ innings giving up two runs and striking out three. Alex Colome replaced Gonzales and for the second night in a row struggled. With Mallex Smith on second Colome surrendered a towering home run to CJ Cron to bring the Rays within a run at 4-3.
Edwin Diaz would relieve Colome in 8th looking for a four-out save. Diaz didn’t have his most electric stuff, but he still overwhelmed the Rays hitters. Zunino ended the game by throwing out Joey Wendle trying to steal 2nd, and the Mariners picked up another one-run win, 4-3.
The Mariners remain in first place and will return to Tropicana Field tomorrow at 1:10 pm. Felix Hernandez (6-4, 5.33 era) will look to build on the success of his last start. He will face Blake Snell (7-3, 2.36 era).