August 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM
Game thread: Rays 6, Mariners 1, bottom 7th
The Rays added a run in the seventh after Brandon Maurer hit Wil Myers with a pitch, then saw Evan Longoria bloop a single between two charging Mariners fielders. Second baseman Nick Franklin was again one of those chasing after the ball, but it was too deep to expect him to make a play on. Center fielder Dustin Ackley got a poor jump on the ball and it dropped in front of him. One out later, Yunel Escobar singled through the left side and the Rays added to their lead, now at 6-1.
5:50 p.m.: The Rays have erupted for four runs in the fifth inning after a blooper was allowed to drop between shortstop Brad Miller and second baseman Nick Franklin. Sam Fuld led off with a single against Joe Saunders, then Sean Rodriguez blooped a ball out beyond second base. Miller and Franklin ran after it with Franklin appearing to call the shortstop off at one point.
But neither infielder had a very decisive read on the ball. At the last second, both of them backed off and the ball dropped in. Saunders promptly yielded a two-run double to Wil Myers and then a two-run homer to Evan Longoria and now trails 5-1.
It can be tough to decipher balls in the air here because of the lights and white stadium room. If you take your eyes off it for one moment, the ball can be lost. I’m sure the two young fielders were glancing at one another as they raced back and in the end — as mentioned — neither appeared to have a very good read on the ball.
The Mariners had the bases loaded with two out in the top of the inning with a full count on Franklin, but he struck out for the third time tonight against Alex Cobb. Bad inning for the Mariners. Saunders has been pulled after giving up a one-out single, still in the same fifth. Brandon Maurer is on to pitch.
5:11 p.m.: Tampa Bay tied it 1-1 off Joe Saunders in the third inning when Wil Myers singled to left to score Sam Fuld from second base. Fuld had reached on a fielder’s choice following a leadoff walk and took second on a bloop single by Sean Rodriguez over the head of first baseman Justin Smoak.
Rodriguez wound up going to third base on the RBI single and Myers took second after Raul Ibanez tried to nab the lead runner at the hot corner. But Saunders pitched out of the one-out jam with a groundout to third by Evan Longoria that Kyle Seager made a heads-up play on — looking the runner back to third. Yunel Escobar then popped out to end the inning.
4:35 p.m.: Raul Ibanez finally hit homer No. 25 of his season, having waited a long time between that second inning blast off Alex Cobb and his previous one on July 12. Ibanez went 90 plate appearances without going deep. Mariners lead it 1-0.
4:03 p.m.: Joe Saunders takes the mound tonight, looking to provide a series win to the Mariners before they head to Texas tomorrow. The Mariners looked to have the series wrapped up last night, but Danny Farquhar blew the save in allowing all five batters to reach in the ninth.
Mariners manager Robby Thompson reitereated today that Farquhar remains his closer. But he might not finish the game tonight, given how much he’s thrown lately. Oliver Perez is celebrating his 32nd birthday tonight and might get to do it with some ninth-inning fireworks.