ST. PETERSBURG -- The Mariners took advantage of three Rays errors to claim a 6-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Tropicana Field and prevent the Rays from sweeping the three-game series.
Dae-Ho Lee and Chris Iannetta provided the bulk of the Mariners' offense. Lee had an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the fourth. Iannetta went 3-for-4 with an RBI. After the Rays narrowed the Mariners' lead to 5-4, Kyle Seager added a solo home run in the ninth to cap the scoring.
"It's good to get a win, good to get a rally together," Iannetta said as the Mariners snapped a four-game losing skid. "No matter what is being said or written, we're a tight unit, and we're going to keep playing that way."
Though Blake Snell took the loss for the Rays, the Seattle native's outing proved difficult to evaluate. While five runs scored in 3 1/3 innings on his watch, just one was earned thanks to two errors by shortstop Tim Beckham. On the flip side, Snell did not look as composed as he did in his Major League debut on April 23 when he allowed one run in five innings against the Yankees in New York.
"Good stuff, fairly erratic, it's fair to say," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They had a good approach. Because from the side, it looked like he was featuring some pretty nasty weapons. But they were either laying off of it or not trying to do too much and taking their hits. They pieced together a couple of good innings and drove his pitch count way up, much higher than what we would like. Other than that, I look forward to seeing Blake out there again."
Steve Pearce went 3-for-5 with an RBI to pace the Rays' offense, but he struck out with the bases loaded to end the Rays' eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Dae-Ho delivers again: The Mariners had 15 baserunners in the first four innings, but they weren't able to fully take advantage until Lee's bases-loaded double in the fourth off reliever Ryan Garton that gave them a 5-2 lead. Nelson Cruz had hit into a double play and struck out in two previous bases-loaded opportunities, but Lee launched a two-out shot to right field to score Shawn O'Malley and Franklin Gutierrez, capitalizing on Beckham's throwing error earlier that frame. Lee continued producing in his part-time role as the 33-year-old rookie from Korea went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs and is hitting .298 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs in just 114 at-bats.
"The last two games, I'd struck out six times, so I was trying to not swing too much, not too quick, just hit the ball easy," Lee said through an interpreter. "I've been seeing a lot of changeups and breaking balls, but I don't care. I just have to make the adjustment."
Beckham's boots: Snell would have escaped the first with just one run on the board if shortstop Beckham had not booted Seager's two-out ground ball. Cruz scored on the play and Iannetta followed with an RBI single to put the Mariners up 3-0. Beckham did some making up in the second when he started an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Unfortunately, his throwing error in the fourth led to two additional Mariners runs.
Leaving a problem: Snell struggled throughout his 3 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits. He got lifted with the bases loaded -- a situation that Beckham's second error helped create. Ryan Garton, who was optioned to Triple-A Durham following the game, nearly cleaned up, but Lee produced a two-out, two-run double. Snell's final line showed five runs, of which only one was earned, on eight hits, three walks and three strikeouts. More >
Paxton holds the line: The Mariners' lefty wasn't as overpowering as in his previous two starts, but he got through six innings with a 5-3 lead and shut the door with two big outs to preserve that margin. With runners at the corners with one out in the sixth, Jaff Decker floated a flyout down the line to right fielder Gutierrez. Beckham tagged at third and came halfway down the line, but he retreated back to third on a throw that was cut off by Lee at first base. Paxton then finished things off by getting a groundout by Curt Casali. In four starts in place of Felix Hernandez, Paxton has a 2.86 ERA with 29 strikeouts and six walks in 22 innings. More >
"We have played really good baseball, and we're winning series, that's the most important thing. We did have some miscues today. We'll kind of rebound and get ready for a big series against San Francisco." -- Cash, on his team
"I love Cano. He's my best friend." -- Lee, as he walked around in a "Yes we Cano" T-shirt after the game
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rays challenged an out call at third base when Taylor Motter tagged and and tried to advance to third on Decker's flyout to left. After a delay of 1 minute and 43 seconds, the call was overturned.
A crew chief home run review took place in the ninth on Seager's solo home run. After 2 minutes and 26 seconds, the call on the field stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (4-4, 4.10 ERA) will be shooting for his fifth win in his last six starts in Friday's 4:10 p.m. PT series opener in Boston. The 35-year-old has struggled against the Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 10.20 ERA in four prior meetings and gave up six hits and five runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last Fenway Park start in 2014.
Rays:Chris Archer (4-7, 4.81 ERA) will make his 15th start of the season at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday against the Giants. The Rays' right-hander is 7-16 with a 4.54 ERA in his last 30 starts. It should be interesting to see how the Rays' players respond to the crowd, which is anticipated to be in excess of 40,000.