The Seattle Mariners were certainly digging the long ball Sunday.
The Mariners hit three home runs, accounting for all of their runs, to back left-hander James Paxton in a 5-4 victory against the host Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Nelson Cruz, Mike Zunino and Kyle Seager went deep for Seattle, which improved to 21-9 in one-run games. The Mariners have won eight of their past 10 games.
The Rays have dropped nine of their last 10 games.
Paxton (6-1) allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 10, the fifth time he has reached double digits in 14 starts this season.
Seager’s two-run shot to right field in the seventh inning off left-hander Jose Alvarado (0-3) snapped a 3-3 tie. It was Seager’s 12th home run of the season.
Tampa Bay got a run back in the eighth on Wilson Ramos’ run-scoring single off former Rays reliever Alex Colome, but fellow right-hander Edwin Diaz closed it out in the ninth for his major league-leading 23rd save despite some drama.
With one out, Johnny Field reached on an infield single. An out later, Carlos Gomez hit a shallow fly ball that right fielder Mitch Haniger couldn’t quite catch with a sliding attempt. When the ball bounced a couple of feet away from Haniger, Field tried to score. But Haniger recovered and made a strong throw to the plate, where catcher Zunino was waiting to tag out Field to end the game.
Zunino hit a two-run homer to left, his 10th, off right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to tie the score in the sixth. That was it for the Rays’ starter, who went five-plus innings and allowed three runs on four hits.
He didn’t issue a walk and struck out three.
Cruz led off the second with a solo homer, his 13th, to left-center field to open the scoring.
The Rays tied it in the third as Field led off with a ground-rule double down the left-field line. He moved to third on Rob Refsnyder flyout to the warning track in center field and scored on Mallex Smith’s chopper over the mound.
Tampa Bay took the lead in the fourth with three extra-base hits. C.J. Cron led off with a solo homer to right field, his 15th. Matt Duffy then doubled to left and scored an out later on Jake Bauers’ double to right, making it 3-1.
Shortstop Daniel Robertson, the Rays’ leadoff hitter, left the game with left hamstring tightness suffered while trying to run out a ground ball when batting in the bottom of the first inning. He was replaced by Joey Wendle.
—Field Level Media