Justin Smoak singled and then Dustin Ackley hit a triple to center field to give the Mariners a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning. The Rays had two on, one out in the bottom of the inning, but Oliver Perez struck out Jose Lobaton and Kelly Johnson to carry the lead to the seventh.
5:52 p.m.: Ben Zobrist just tied Brad Miller 2-2 in home runs and tied this game 4-4 in the fifth with a two-run blast to right field off Erasmo Ramirez. Kelly Johnson led the inning off with a long single ripped off the right field wall before Zobrist hit his second homer of the night.
This is just the third time since records were kept starting in 1916 that two leadoff hitters have had multiple homers in the same game. The prior ones came June 5, 1994 when Chuck Knoblauch of the Twins and Tony Phillips of the Tigers did it. Before that was on July 8, 1965 when Joe Morgan of the Astros and Felipe Alou of the Milwaukee Braves went deep.
Ramirez is lucky not to be down by a run as Wil Myers ended the inning with a blast to the warning track in left center — the deepest part of the park — that was hauled in at the last moment.
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5:28 p.m.:Brad Miller just launched his second home run of the night well into the back of the right field bleachers to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead in the fifth. It’s the second multi-homer game of Miller’s career.
5:10 p.m.: The Mariners erupted for four consecutive two-out hits in the fourth inning, scored twice and took a 3-2 lead. Raul Ibanez began it with a single, followed by a ground rule double to the right field corner by Michael Morse. Justin Smoak then hit a bounding ball to the right side that shortstop Yunel Escobar waved at (he was on the shift) and partially deflected with his glove. The ball shot by second baseman Ben Zobrist, bringing home two runs on what was ruled a single.
4:32 p.m.: Erasmo Ramirez got smacked around a bit in the bottom of the first and trails 2-1. Ben Zobrist led the inning off with a tying solo homer, the 100th blast of his career. Two more singles followed and then James Loney drove in the go-ahead run on a single to right.
By the way, that’s the first time since Aug. 16, 2006 that two opposing squads have hit leadoff homers in an American League game.
4:21 p.m.: Brad Miller led the game off with a solo homer to right-center off Chris Archer. The first leadoff blast of Miller’s career has the Mariners up 1-0 after a half-inning of play.
4:07 p.m.: Tonight’s game against the Rays kicks off a nine-game, three-city adventure for the Mariners that sees them take on clubs in the thick of division and wild-card races. The last time the Mariners played at Tropicana Field was a year ago last July in the final series Ichiro would be with Seattle.
Those three games against the Rays were an awful offensive display, with the first two taking a combined seven hours, 51 minutes to play. The Mariners lost the opener in 14 innings, a game punctuated by Hideki Matsui continuously folding in the clutch with men on base to keep prolonging the contest.
But the Mariners won the final two, the last one a 2-hour, 10-minute 2-1 game in which everybody prayed that it wasn’t tied up in the bottom of the ninth and prolonged another three hours by offensive ineptitude.
Could we see the same types of games this time? Possibly. The Mariners are struggling at the plate while the Rays have dropped five in a row and are never an offensive juggernaut. That said, the Mariners don’t have Felix Hernandez or Hisashi Iwakuma going, so there’s that. And Tampa Bay’s woes have been caused more by pitching during this slide than anything else.
So, we’ll see.
They have a gong in-place at the Trop these days. They bang it whenever the Rays take the field.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is apparently a big T-Rex fan, so they put the gong in. You know? “Get it on, bang-a-gong, get it on!” Yep, T-Rex. No, The Power Station didn’t invent the tune.
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