One-Run Magic Continues as Mariners win series vs. Rays
By Tyler Wicke
The Seattle Mariners continued their winning ways against Tampa Bay on Sunday when they secured yet another one-run win by a score of 5-4.
The win also seals another series win for Seattle as they end their road trip. They went 4-2 on the six-game trip, splitting a two-game stint between Houston before taking 3 of 4 from the Rays in Tampa.
James Paxton took the mound for Seattle to face Tampa Bay’s Nathan Eovaldi. Both pitchers have been hot in recent starts: Paxton was 4-0 in his previous seven starts with a 2.13 ERA, and Eovaldi threw six innings of no-hit baseball on May 30 against Oakland.
Both offenses were silent until Nelson Cruz hit a home-run to left-center field in the second to give the Mariners an early 1-0 lead. However, Seattle’s lead was short-lived. After a leadoff double by Johnny Field in the bottom of the third, Rob Refsnyder’s fly-out brought him to third base, and a groundout by Mallex Smith scored him. After three innings, the game was tied, 1-1.
Despite the Cruz home-run in the second inning, the Mariners offense was silent early in the game. Through four innings, Seattle only mustered one hit off of Nathan Eovaldi. However, the M’s were resilient in their at-bats, raising Eovaldi’s pitch count to over 80 throughout the first four frames.
The Rays offense, on the other hand, were able to jump on Paxton early, with four hits through four innings (all for extra bases). C.J. Cron hit an opposite-field solo shot to lead off the fourth and give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Immediately after, Matt Duffy doubled and scored on another double by Jake Bauers.
The Mariners were able to bounce back in the 6th as Mike Zunino hit a 2-run moonshot to left field to tie the game, 3-3. In the seventh, Kyle Seager followed with a 2-run homer of his own, giving Seattle a sudden 5-3 lead.
Paxton recovered from his early troubles to throw seven full innings and allowing just the three runs. Alex Colome relieved Paxton in the 8th against his former team and gave up one run in the frame. Headed into the ninth, the Mariners held a one-run lead, 5-4.
After the Mariners offense was silenced in the top of the ninth, Edwin Diaz came in looking to earn his MLB-leading 23rd save. With two outs and Field on first, Carlos Gomez hit a blooper into right field that Mitch Haniger was unable to field. However, the Rays took a chance, sending Field home from first base. Hanger threw a laser to catcher to Zunino who was able to apply the tag and secure the 5-4 win for Seattle.
The Mariners continue their one-run magic, now 21-9 in such affairs. They fly home Sunday afternoon to prepare for a seven-game homestand against the Angels and Red Sox. Wade Leblanc will take the mound against the Angels’ Andrew Heaney on Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PT.