Story of the night: James Paxton makes his major-league debut for the Mariners tonight.
Top 1st: Paxton gets through his first big-league inning with no trouble. He gets the Rays to go three up, three down to start the game and needs just 14 pitches to do it (8 for strikes in case you were wondering). Mariners 0, Rays 0.
Bottom 1st: Brad Miller leads off the inning by reaching on an error on Rays first baseman James Loney, who botches a routine grounder. Miller then scores when Kendrys Morales delivers a two-out single. Mariners 1, Rays 0.
Top 2nd: Paxton gives up his first hit of the night — a single to James Loney — with two outs in the inning. He followed that up with a walk to Sean Rodriguez, but he got Jose Lobaton to ground out to end the inning. Mariners 1, Rays 0.
Bottom 2nd: Justin Smoak leads off the inning by hitting an opposite-field solo home run, his 16th homer of the season. Mariners 2, Rays 0.
Top 3rd: Paxton gets through his second innings without giving up a base runner. He also records his first strikeout of his pro career by getting Desmond Jennings. The biggest thing so far: He’s thrown 25 of his 38 pitches for strikes. Mariners 2, Rays 0.
Bottom 3rd: Kendrys Morales hits a solo homer to right field, his 19th of the year. It could have been a two-run homer, though, because it came moments after Abraham Almonte was caught stealing third. Almonte stole second but was caught easily at third. Mariners 3, Rays 0.
Top 4th: Paxton keeps on rolling. He gives up a single to Wil Myers, but that’s it. So far, he’s given up two hits and one walk in his four innings. He’s been sharp. Mariners 3, Rays 0.
Bottom 4th: First time the Mariners go three up, three down tonight. Mariners 3, Rays 0.
Top 5th: Paxton gets another three up, three down inning — his third of the night. He’s working in the high 90s and has worked in his breaking pitch effectively. He’s been incredibly tough to hit so far and has pounded the strike zone. Mariners 3, Rays 0.
Bottom 5th: The Mariners built their lead on home runs, then used small ball to tack on a little cushion. Nick Franklin opened the inning with a double. Brad Miller bunted him over to third and Abraham Almonte scored him with a sacrifice bunt (Almonte also reached on the play). Mariners 4, Rays 0.
Top 6th: Evan Longoria blasts a two-run homer off Paxton. Paxton left the ball right down the middle of the plate, and Longoria made him pay. Ben Zobrist reached on an error by Kyle Seager before Longoria’s home run. Not many mistakes by Paxton tonight. He responds by getting Delmon Young to strikeout. While going for a softly hit blooper, Nick Franklin took a knee in the back of the head from teammate Justin Smoak. Franklin stayed on the ground for a couple of minutes but got up and stayed in the game after being looked over by trainers. Mariners 4, Rays 2.
Bottom 6th: Raul Ibanez leads off with a walk and scores on a double from Michael Saunders, who has two hits tonight. Nick Franklin tacks on another run with a double to center. Mariners 6, Rays 2.
Top 7th: Tom Wilhelmsen comes on in relief of Paxton and immediately gives up two straight walks. But Wilhelmsen bunkers down and gets the next three guys without giving up a run. Mariners 6, Rays 2.
Bottom 7th: Morales singles for his third hit of the night, but that’s it for the Mariners. Mariners 6, Rays 2.
Top 8th: Mariners bullpen gives up one hit and no runs while striking out two in the inning. Mariners 6, Rays 2.
Bottom 8th: Smoak and Saunders lead off the inning with a single and walk, but Zunino and Franklin strikeout while Miller grounds out to end the inning. Mariners 6, Rays 2.