The Rays ended their disappointing road trip on a high note, rallying against the Mariners late and extending their lead for the second wild card spot to two games.
Matt Moore pitched well, going 6.1 innings allowing just one run on a homer to Kendrys Morales. He'd get into a little trouble in the third inning, putting men on second and third with two outs but got out of it when Franklin Gutierrez grounded out to third. In his two starts since coming off the disabled list he's thrown 11.2 innings and given up just one run, though he has walked seven. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Fernando Rodney combined to finished out the game allowing no hits and two walks. Peralta made it more interesting than need be by walking two men in the eighth but responded by striking out Gutierrez and Raul Ibanez to end the threat. Rodney picked up his 33rd save.
Seeing the offense pick up 10 hits in one game must seem like a mirage to most fans. It's a high total considering they had just three hits through six innings. Down one run in the seventh, they had a perfect opportunity to score with the bases loaded and no outs. Pinch hitter Delmon Young tapped the ball back to the mound to start a double play, pitcher-to-catcher-to-first, and Ben Zobrist flew out to center to end the threat. At this point the game felt lost. Then the eighth inning happened.
Evan Longoria lead off and was hit by a pitch and Luke Scott followed with a walk. James Loney doubled Longoria home to tie the game. Sean Rodriguez pinch hit for Matt Joyce (one of seven right handed bench bats the Rays had handy) and promptly singled to center, scoring two. The team hasn't been hitting well with men in scoring position, making those two hits especially nice to see. They'd add another run in the ninth on a double by Desmond Jennings.
The Rays return home to begin a three game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Winning the division is a long shot at this point, but making up any ground on the Sox, while also protecting their wild card lead, is a bonus.