The Tampa Bay Rays hit a pair of two-run home runs and only gave up one earned run in an 8-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Yes, a loss.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “unearned suffering is redemptive.” Maybe after giving up seven unearned runs, the Tampa Bay Rays can find redemption in the form of future success against the Seattle Mariners.
The game started off with Matt Wisler took on the mound for the Rays as an opener. The Rays were 3-0 so far this season when using an opener before tonight’s game, though, Wisler’s performance was not the cause of failure. He allowed back-to-back He finished with 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, and 2 strikeouts on 27 pitches.
Really nice job opening by the #Rays Matt Wisler. 2 IP and 2 soft singles allowed— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) April 26, 2022
Logan Gilbert was the starter for the Mariners and he had a great performance. He came into the game 2-0 with an ERA of 0.54. Through the first three innings of the game he only allowed the Rays two baserunners with walks to Yandy Diaz and Kevin Kiermaier in the first and second inning respectively.
After three scoreless innings, things took a dramatic turn in the fourth inning.
Josh Fleming remained in to pitch after retiring the Mariners in order in the third. A Jesse Winker single and a walk to Eugene Suarez gave Seattle two baserunners with no outs. J.P. Crawford hit a line drive to Kiermaier for the first out of the inning.
Then things got interesting and by interesting I mean ugly.
Abraham Toro hits a a weak ball to Wander Franco and the throw to Brandon Lowe is off the mark allowing Suarez to reach second base safely. Lowe tried to catch the ball with his bare hand and was unable to maintain possession of it. The Rays challenged the call but the call was confirmed. What could have been an inning-ending double play turned into a throwing error by Franco that loaded the bases.
Top 4th – Rays challenge call that Eugenio Suarez is safe at 2B; call confirmed, runner is safe as the fielder did not demonstrate firm and secure possession of the ball throughout the play. Powered by @Mitel. pic.twitter.com/oLgGhNzfwE— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) April 27, 2022
Tom Murphy came to the plate next for the Mariners and reached first base on a fielder’s choice to Ji-Man Choi who made a throwing error trying to get Winker out at the plate allowing Suarez to score as well and give Seattle a two-run lead. Julio Rodriguez hit a double in the next at-bat to score Murphy. After Dylan Moore got hit by a pitch, Adam Frazier hit a three-RBI double to extend the lead to six runs. The next at-bat Ty France hit a RBI-single to score the seventh and final unearned run of the inning. Fleming closed out the frame with back-to-back strikeouts and faced 11 batters total in the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rays failed to provide any meaningful offense, though, the umpire did not help. After a Franco groundout, Yandy Diaz walked on four pitches bringing Choi to the plate. After falling behind in a 1-2 count, Choi drew a full count before striking out looking on a called third strike that looked like a fourth ball. Sure, after giving up seven runs a strikeout call feels trivial but all it takes is one good inning and this game could feel more competitive. The inning ended with a Randy Arozarena strikeout leaving the Rays hitless through four.
Hitter takes pitch 6 for a ball, and then sees pitch 7, in nearly the exact same location, called strike 3. pic.twitter.com/5WERtatJLY— Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) April 26, 2022
Phoenix Sanders came in to pitch the fifth for the Rays and retired the first two batters he faced. Then, Murphy hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall after bouncing off the padding in the outfield. Rodriguez grounded out to Franco in the next-at bat to prevent additional runs for the moment. Rene Pinto also entered the game and made his major league debut replacing Mike Zunino who left the game with an injury to his left bicep.
Tom Murphy comes inches shy of what would've been his second homer ... the ball hit off the padding at the top of the wall then bounced over. So, it's a ground-rule double. pic.twitter.com/rVGR0TUnxq— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) April 27, 2022
In the bottom of the fifth, Manuel Margot hit a single to prevent the no-hitter alerts from reaching everyone’e notifications. The only other item worth mentioning was Rene Pinto getting his first career at-bat, though, it ended in a strikeout.
Dylan Moore hit a leadoff triple to keep the momentum going for the Mariners in the top of the sixth on a ball just out of reach from Kiermaier. Sanders walked Frazier in the next at-bat putting runners on first and third for the Mariners. A France sac-fly provided Seattle’s first earned run of the game and an 8-0 lead.
Dylan Moore Triple Dylan Moore Triple pic.twitter.com/3Fpd237msd— Gravel (@Gravel_sense) April 27, 2022
It felt like there might be a chance for redemption in the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs and Margot on second, Pinto came to the plate for his second career at-bat and a moment he will never forget. His first career hit was also his first home run as he sent an 89.3 MPH Cutter over the right center field wall (104.8 EV, 393 ft) to make it an 8-2 game. Brandon Lowe followed with a single to right field as the Rays bats started to show signs of life. Next up, Wander Franco did Wander Franco things with a two-run homer of his own (100.2 EV, 395ft) and suddenly it’s an 8-4 game.
Rene Pinto just hit a 2 run home run in his major league debut— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) April 27, 2022
Wander Franco gives him a huge hug afterwards.
How cool is that to have your first major league hit be a 2 run home run? pic.twitter.com/5uRvYuQiMd
In the eighth inning, Brooks Raley came in retired the Mariners in order to keep the Rays within a grand slam of tying the game. Choi hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth to keep whatever hope was left alive. Following an Arozarena strikeout, Kiermaier hit a single of his own and suddenly a comeback started to feel more possible, though, highly improbable. Probability won out as Margot was out on an infield fly and Josh Lowe extended his games with a strikeout streak to 13.
In the ninth inning Javy Guerra came in and performed as you would expect a Rays reliever to perform with a 1-2-3 inning. The final hope for the Rays offense started with a Pinto single off Andres Munoz. Unfortunately for the Rays, Lowe and Franco had back-to-back strikeouts. Diaz walked in the next at-bat but the inning and game ended after another questionable strike call on Choi that should have been ball four.
The Rays have now lost nine of their last 11 games against the Mariners including going 1-6 against them last season. Will their suffering continue or is this the start of a redemption story? We will find out tomorrow as these teams meet again for the second of seven games this season, all over the next two weeks.