September 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Game thread: Rays 4, Mariners 1, FINAL
Yoervis Medina hit a batter in the eighth, walked another, then allowed a tying double to James Loney in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez followed with a two-run single to put Tampa Bay ahead for the first time all day.
Hector Noesi allowed another run in the ninth on a Desmond Jennings double to give the Rays a 4-1 lead. It could have been worse for Noesi, who allowed four hits and intentionally walked a batter in the inning. But Henry Blanco threw out a baserunner on a steal attempt and Abraham Almonte gunned another down at the plate trying to score from second on a single.
3:35 p.m.: Tampa Bay chased Erasmo Ramirez in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out. But pinch-hitter Delmon Young grounded one back to the mound, to begin a 1-2-4 double play and Charlie Furbush got the final out on a flyball to keep Seattle’s 1-0 lead going.
Ramirez allowed four hits over a scoreless six-plus innings.
1:36 p.m.: Kendrys Morales just hit his 20th homer of the season, off Matt Moore, to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
1:03 p.m.: Well, this certainly was an unexpected development and if you’re the Tampa Bay Rays, you almost certainly have to try to avoid being swept today by a Mariners team that had been on-pace for 90 losses before the last two games. The Rays are in a tailspin and their offense — lack of — is really catching up to them on this road trip now no matter how good the pitching.
Tampa Bay is averaging just 2.5 runs per contest the last 10 games, going 2-8 over that span and pretty much forfeiting the AL East to the Red Sox.
They have Matt Moore coming off the 15-day DL today and will need him to be at the top of his game right away. With a tough schedule the rest of the way, the Rays could actually be in danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight year despite one of the best rotations in baseball.
Erasmo Ramirez heads to the mound for Seattle.
Nick Franklin is not in today’s lineup, one day after being left in last night’s game after getting kneed in the head on a collision with Justin Smoak. Mariners manager Eric Wedge says today’s lineup is more a reflection of the team’s desire to move Dustin Ackley around and get him to play the infield a bit. Wedge also wants a “more balanced” lineup and has a combo of lefties, switch-hitters and righties in there against Moore, whose splits are pretty even versus all types of hitters.
“Nick’s head is fine,” Wedge said. “I appreciated the fact that he stayed in the ballgame and helped us win. Obviously, the trainers took a good look at him and felt comfortable with it. If we didn’t, we would have taken him out of the game but the fact he stayed in there and contributed, was impressive.”