SEATTLE – When the Tampa Bay Rays have clicked at their best during this impressive first half of the season, it's been a collective effort.
Friday night may have taken that to an extreme.
Randy Arozarena and Josh Lowe homered and the Rays scored 15 unanswered runs highlighted by an eight-run eighth inning in their 15-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
“That's what we saw the first few months of the season, the first two months specifically," Lowe said. "It’s pretty cool to see that come back around and hopefully we can have a few more of those innings.”
By the time the night was done, every starter in the Rays lineup had an RBI and eight of the nine had a hit.
But it wasn't all good news for Tampa Bay after ace Shane McClanahan was lifted after three innings with concern he could be headed to the injured list. McClanahan was pulled from his last start against Kansas City after 3 2/3 innings due to a back issue and, despite extra rest before this start, the back issue popped up again.
McClanahan allowed four earned runs and walked three.
“It just kind of tightened up on me and frustrated, yeah,” McClanahan said. “Obviously I want to go out there and help this team win and didn't do that this start, last start.”
McClanahan's short outing became a footnote because of Tampa Bay's big offensive rally.
Tampa Bay sent 13 batters to the plate in the eighth and sent a smattering of Mariners fans who didn’t want to wait out the postgame fireworks to the exits. Those that remained cascaded boos on the home team as the Rays kept hitting and scoring.
Luke Raley opened the inning with a double off Seattle’s Andrés Muñoz and advanced to third on Arozarena’s single. Isaac Parades chopped a 100 mph fastball from Muñoz (0-1) toward third baseman Eugenio Suárez, but he wasn’t able to make a clean transfer and throw trying to get Raley at the plate.
That opened the flood gates. Lowe followed with an RBI double that knocked Muñoz from the game, but the hitting continued.
Taylor Walls (single), Christian Bethancourt (double), Yandy Díaz (single), Wander Franco (double) and Arozarena (fielders’ choice) all drove in runs. Many Seattle fans gave a sarcastic standing ovation when Lowe grounded out to finally end the inning.
Jose Siri homered in the ninth inning with infielder Mike Ford on the mound.
“There were just huge at bats. (Parades) putting the ball in play right there and then it seemed like they kind of fed off that and everybody kept getting on base,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Seattle’s clubhouse was empty before the game, the result of a players meeting to talk through where the team stands almost at the exact halfway point of the season. It didn’t seem to help as the Mariners lost for the fifth time in six games and dropped four games under .500 for the first time since April 30.
Seattle seemed in a good spot after sending nine batters to the plate in the second inning against McClanahan. Teoscar Hernández's double, Tom Murphy’s two-run homer and J.P. Crawford’s two-run single were the big blows. McClanahan allowed five hits and walked three.
But Tampa Bay’s bullpen held Seattle to just one hit over the final six innings. Kevin Kelly (4-1) went 1 1/3 innings for the win.
“You give up eight runs in the eighth inning, nobody’s gonna take that well,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I know how I feel, I know how our players feel and how our fans feel. They're frustrated. They're disappointed. We have to be better than that.”
Seattle starter Bryce Miller was spectacular for the first three innings but left in the fourth inning due to a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Miller was checked prior to giving up the homer to Arozarena and removed immediately after.
IN THE MINORS
Former Yankees and Phillies infielder Didi Gregorius reported to Triple-A Tacoma and made his debut for the top farm club of the Mariners on Friday. Gregorius had been playing for Laguna in the Mexican League before his contract was bought out by the Mariners earlier this month. Gregorius had visa issues that delayed his arrival.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.45) had a season-high five strikeouts and won his last start against Kansas City allowing four hits and one earned run.
Mariners: RHP George Kirby (6-7, 3.26) will try to rebound after losing his last start to Baltimore despite allowing only two earned runs and pitching into the seventh.