Losses like this one are a tough pill to swallow, because there’s no obvious place to point for who is to blame. The defense made some tremendous catches in the outfield (Field! Ref!), the defense made some great moves at bat. It was a game where one pitch could have made it or broken it either way, and unfortunately it went in the Mariners favor this time around.
Facing off against Mariners pitcher James Paxton this season will never be an easy win. He’s been electric all season, not just considering his no-hitter, and he hasn’t seemed to have a really bad outing since that day in Toronto. But Nathan Eovaldi held his own, especially given how fresh he is off his recent injury.
It should be noted, too, that Daniel Robertson left the game early with left hamstring tightness. At the moment he is day-to-day and it appears benching him it preventative.
The Mariners got things started early with a home run to Nelson Cruz in the second inning, but the Rays didn’t let the lead linger for long when Johnny Field was able to get on and was then scored by a groundout from Mallex Smith in the third inning. C.J. Cron walloped a home run to star the bottom of the fourth, giving the Rays the lead, and then Jake Bauers knocked in a double to score Matt Duffy, extending the lead to 3-1. Bauers got a bit too aggressive on the basepaths after his RBI and was thrown out trying to advance to third. Gotta love the drive, though.
It was two two-run home runs that defeated the Rays today: one to Mike Zunino in the sixth, and the other to Kyle Seager in the seventh. The extra four runs produced with those shots gave the Mariners the push they needed to reclaim the lead 5-3.
Eovaldi had a solid enough outing, with a final line of 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR on 102 pitches. Chaz Roe pitched a clean inning in the sixth after Eovaldi gave up the game-tying home run. He was relieved by Jose Alvarado who gave up the home run to Seager. Sergio Romo to the eighth inning and kept the score clean.
In the bottom of the eighth a Wilson Ramos single scored Joey Wendle, inching the Rays closer to another tie, but they were unable to do any further damage in that inning.
Ryne Stanek came on to limit the damage, hoping to give the Rays a shot in the bottom of the ninth. He faced some of the nastiest bats in the Mariners lineup: Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager. He easily took down Haniger and Cruz, but allowed a hit to Seager, then a walk to old friend Denard Span. He was able to get to Ryon Healey, though, and successfully kept the score unchanged in spite of allowing two runners to get on base.
Field singled in the bottom of the ninth for his second hit of the game. A dropped ball in the outfield SHOULD have advanced Field to third, but he ran for home and was tagged out at the plate, ending the game. Another one-run loss for the team.