The Rays have simply not been able to figure things out against the Mariners this year, but it seemed improbable for Tampa Bay to go utterly winless in a season against any team. But in Wednesday’s afternoon game, the Rays finally looked poised to do something they hadn’t done all year: win a game against the Mariners.
Things started decently for the Rays with a 1-2-3 first from Fleming, but they were unlucky in the bottom of the inning, drawing only a single walk from Choi, with no runs to show for it.
In the top of the second, the Mariners once again went down in order, and in the bottom of the inning the Rays began to stir a little more. Wendle singled to lead things off, but Franco grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase Wendle as a baserunner. Kiermaier drew a walk, but the next two batters were eliminated, meaning no runs scored for the efforts.
Things took a familiar turn in the third, and I’m sure all fans in attendance were like “oh no, not this again.” With two outs, Moore singled, then successfully stole second base. Crawford singled to score Moore, giving the Mariners their initial lead. Haniger got an infield single, but France grounded out to end the inning with only the one run on the board. In the bottom of the inning, however, the Rays struck back. Lowe doubled, and Choi drew a walk. Then Arozarena hit an incredible triple, scoring Lowe and Choi easily (though I swear Choi was about to lap Lowe rounding third). Wendle hit a sac fly to score Arozarena, and Franco drew a walk, but a Kiermaier groundout ended the inning. The Rays had seized the lead, though.
While the Mariners were able to get another baserunner with a Toro single in the top of the fourth, Fleming was able to shut down the rest of the lineup. The bottom of the inning saw the Rays go down 1-2-3 again, though.
This was much the same for the fifth inning as well, with the Mariners going 1-2-3, and while Arozarena got a wonderfully placed double, the Rays were unable to capitalize on the baserunner. I can’t talk about the fifth and not share this though.
A Haniger tripled to lead off the sixth marked the end of the day for Fleming, whose final line was 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 HR on a tidy 75 pitches. A really nice outing for him, overall. He was replaced by newcomer and former Mariner JT Chargois, who unfortunately quickly gave up a sac fly to Seager, scoring Haniger, adding a second run to Fleming’s total for the day. Toro drew a walk, but the Mariners were only able to get the single run. In the bottom of the sixth Mike Zunino did that thing Mike Zunino loves to do, and hit a solo home run to dead center, giving the Rays a much-needed insurance run.
The Mariners went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th with Wisler pitching, and friends, In 100% forgot Jake Bauers was with the Mariners now, but was reminded when he came on to pinch-hit this inning. The seventh was a pretty quick outing for everyone though, as the Rays also went down 1-2-3.
Crawford doubled to lead off the eighth for the Mariners, then Haniger singled, putting Crawford on third. A Wisler wild pitch allowed Crawford to score, and the Rays were pretty happy for that Zunino home run at that point. Two flyouts ended the inning, but the Mariners were now within one run. The Rays went 1-2-3 yet again in the bottom of the eighth, meaning it was all up to Sherriff in the top of the ninth to keep the game a winning one for the Rays.
Thankfully, Sherriff was on his game today and able to end the inning without a run or walk in sight. Sherriff got his first save of the year, and the Rays FINALLY beat the Mariners.
Final: Rays 4, Mariners 3