Coming off of a huge weekend series sweep against the now second place Boston Red Sox, the Rays looked to start a new series on the right note as the Seattle Mariners came into town. On the mound for the Rays was Michael Wacha, who was coming off one of his best starts of the season when he pitched five shutout innings against the Yankees, striking out nine. For the Mariners it was Chris Flexen, who after spending a year pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization, has put together quite a good year so far in his return to the majors.
The game was relatively quiet for the first two innings, as Wacha and Flexen traded scoreless frames to start the contest. But the wheels came off for both Wacha and the Rays in the top of the third, when a mix of defensive miscues, walks, and some good pieces of hitting led to the Mariners putting up a five spot in the inning.
It wasn’t a great start for Wacha, who was tagged for six earned runs. While he wasn’t hit particularly hard—only one of the hits given up went for extra bases—it didn’t appear that Wacha was fooling many Mariners hitters, as Wacha was chased after just four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, the Rays finally got on the board in the form of a rocket home run to dead center off the bat of Randy Arozarena:
Arozarena continues his extremely hot hitting. Coming into tonight’s game, the Rays outfielder had been hitting to a 153 wRC+ since the all star break. The Rays plated another run in the fifth when Brandon Lowe drove in Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout. Other than those two hiccups, however, Flexen turned in a classy performance for the M’s, twirling six and two thirds innings and striking out six Rays batters.
Ty France had himself quite a game for Seattle. After driving in a run on a single in the third, France drove in another in the fourth. But France wasn’t done there, as the Mariners first baseman homered off of Chris Mazza in the seventh, driving in his third run of the game. France would finish the game a triple short of the cycle:
On a brighter note, newly acquired pitcher DJ Johnson made his Rays debut, pitching a clean fifth and recording a strikeout. After that, Mazza ate the next three innings, allowing two runs, with Louis Head pitching the ninth inning. For the Mariners, veteran sidearmer Joe Smith followed Flexen, with Kenyan Middleton closing it out.
It was a lackluster showing for a Rays team that took back first place by sweeping Boston over the weekend. Additionally, this marks the fifth straight loss for the Rays against the Mariners, as they were swept on the road in a four game series earlier this year. The Rays hope to bounce back tomorrow night as Luis Patiño takes the hill against all-star left hander Yusei Kikuchi. Patiño dazzled in his last start, out-dueling Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.