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Rays 8, M’s 7: Dickerson nearly does it all

Rays never stop battling, and Corey ends up a double shy of the cycle.

Short recap tonight ladies and gents. One of the better wins of the season and you get me to recap. You truly deserve better.

Innings 1-3: Odor puts the Rays in an early hole

The M’s struck first, and they struck first in a big way. Kyle Seager wrecked a two-run homer to left to put the Mariners on the board early.

The disappointment didn't stop there. Despite clearing up those clogged bases, the M’s kept the inning alive by working the count, getting bloop bunt hits and walks, culminating in a two-run double by Leonys Martin to score four unanswered runs. Martin also ended the inning when he tried to steal third and made one of those big cardinal no-no's by ending the inning with a third out at third base.

Later in the third, the M’s got another run on a double and single combo, giving them 5 in the first three innings.

The Rays struck back in the second on a looooooooooooong Dickerson homer, scoring two:

That went an absolute mile.

Or at least 448 feet.

Innings 4-6: Odorizzi walks a crazy tightrope, gets thrown out

The Rays kept it close and Odor pitched himself out of a whole bunch of jams in the fourth and fifth. With runners on second and third (with no outs), Jake coaxed a grounder and two K's to keep the score at a manageable 5-2. In the fifth, the first two M’s reached base to lead off, but they too couldn’t come around and score. Through five, Jake had pitched 97 pitches.

While Odorizzi battled, the Rays offense kept the engine running. Steve Pearce launched a “dome-scraper” (re: Dave Wills) to left that barely cleared the foul pole to score the Rays’ third run of the game. Corey Dickerson followed that at bat up with a full count triple to left, completing the two hardest legs of the cycle.

Slowed-down replays seemed to sort of suggest that Dickerson pulled his foot off the bag on a pop-up slide, but the Mariners elected not to challenge the call. Unfortunately for the Mariners (and fans of young exciting baseball players in general) Taijuan Walker was removed from the game after Corey’s line-drive triple. Never a good sign for a player, but the worst-case scenario seemed not to be the one that happened:

Despite the velocity dip, the problem seemed not to be his arm, so that's good news for the M’s.

Two pitches after Walker was removed, the new Mariners pitcher Edwin Diaz (who apparently throws 101 mph, according to every announcer) uncorked a pitch that the catcher couldn’t handle, scoring Dickerson from third to trim the deficit to one.

The official scorer ruled it a passed ball, but frankly it could have gone either way.

The top of the sixth proved to be Jake’s final inning. After getting Aoki and Ketel “#1” Marte to swing and whiff on some choice changeups, Odor worked a 2-2 count to his final batter of the inning: Leonys Martin. Odorizzi then threw two consecutive cutter/sliders to Martin that seemed to nick the inside corner of the strike zone, but both were denied by home plate umpire Jerry Meals. At 116 pitches, Jake likely knew his night was over, and made a big show of the walk to Martin. Meals handily ejected him.

Both teams had reasons to complain about the misshapen strike zone tonight, as this is a graph of the pitches called at the time of Odorizzi’s ejection:

Dana Eveland got the final out of the inning.

Edwin Diaz was superb in relief of Taijuan Walker, holding the Rays to no further runs.

Innings 7-9: Cash’s bullpen mismanagement puts the game out of reach ummm

I would consider keeping Dana Eveland in to face both Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz (a righty!), and Kyle Seager to be the absolute height of hubris. The exact outcome you predicted happened: all three reached base.

The Mariners turned the bases loaded, no outs situation into two more runs, once again putting the Rays down three. Taylor Motter made a leaping catch at the wall to save a bases-clearing double, but it was too little too late.

The worst part of the inning was certainly the injury by Souza. Cruz hit a laser that Souza dove for. The ball ricocheted off of his glove and Souza bolted up to throw to second base, but seemed to stumble and awkwardly threw the ball to the infield. He walked off of the field under his own power, but he still had to walk off the field.

Presumably the “soreness” was substantially more painful than it sounds. My right hamstring currently aches like a mother, but even I still find the time to paint my Magic figurines in the attic. Considering how slim the OF depth chart looks right now, an extended DL stint for Souza would be one of the worst things for the Rays right now.

Here’s one of the best things for the Rays right now:

With two on and one out, Longoria launched the first pitch he saw—a hanging slider—to left-center, tying the game all of a sudden at 7-7. Scott Servais went straight to the bullpen and recalled Mike Montgomery, the Royals-turned-Rays-turned M's farmhand we traded Erasmo Ramirez for. Montgomery issued two straight walks on eight pitches to once again put a runner in scoring position. Against Dickerson, Montgomery finally threw a strike. It ended up in left, scoring LoMo. Dickerson was thrown out, but the Rays would take the first lead of the game.

Cedeno entered for the eighth and pitched a tidy 1-2-3 inning. The Rays made a little two-out noise in the bottom of the inning but didn’t push across any insurance runs. Colome was able to close out the game, securing his 19th save for a team two games below .500.

Ryan Garton picks up his first MLB win. Well done, Garton. Well done, Rays.