The Tampa Bay Rays scored three runs on just one hit in the ninth inning to break a tie and defeat the host Seattle Mariners 5-3 Friday night.
Right-hander Oliver Drake (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to get the victory as the Rays remained a half-game ahead of the Oakland A’s in the race for the American League’s second and final wild-card playoff berth.
With the score 2-2 entering the ninth, the Rays’ Eric Sogard led off by lining a single to right field off right-hander Anthony Bass (1-4).
Kevin Kiermaier walked, and Michael Brosseau put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. Bass then walked Willy Adames intentionally to load the bases with one out.
Pinch hitter Ji-Man Choi got the count to 3-2 before drawing a walk to bring home the go-ahead run. The second run scored when shortstop J.P. Crawford made an error on Tommy Pham’s grounder, and the third came home on Austin Meadows’ groundout.
The Mariners got a run in the bottom of the ninth off Emilio Pagan as Ryan Court hit his first major league homer, but the right-hander earned his 10th save of the season.
The Rays opened the scoring in the second inning as Matt Duffy doubled to center with one out, moved to third on Kiermaier’s single to left and scored as Brosseau grounded into a forceout.
Tampa Bay made it 2-0 in the third as Pham led off with a single, advanced to third on Meadows’ single to right and scored on Jesus Aguilar’s groundout.
The Mariners scored in the bottom of the inning. Mallex Smith walked with one out, moved to second on Crawford’s groundout and scored as Domingo Santana grounded a single into left.
Seattle tied it at 2-2 in the fourth. Tom Murphy led off by reaching on second baseman Brosseau’s fielding error and took second on Kyle Seager’s shallow fly ball to center field that fell for a single. Two outs later, Court lined a run-scoring single to right to score Murphy.
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was removed after Adames’ comebacker leading off the seventh inning hit the left-hander in the back of the leg. Gonzales went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and a season-high-tying nine strikeouts.
Tampa Bay starter Jalen Beeks yielded two runs (one earned) in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits and two walks while fanning four.
—Field Level Media