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Rays 4, Mariners 8: Dropped The Ball On This One

A late rally was not enough to overcome an early deficit as Rays continue to struggle against Mariners

Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

Yikes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.