Rays grind out series-opening win over Mariners behind 3-run 9th inning

SEATTLE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi drew a bases-loaded walk that snapped a ninth-inning tie and the Tampa Bay Rays ended their nine-game losing streak in Seattle, beating the Mariners 5-3 Friday night.

The Rays won for the eighth time in 10 games and remain second in the AL wild-card race.

Tampa Bay entered the game in a 1-for-23 slump with runners in scoring position, but solved the problem in the ninth by patiently waiting for Mariners reliever Anthony Bass to go wild with the score 2-all.

After giving up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Eric Sogard, Bass (1-4) walked Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Brosseau moved over both runners with a sacrifice bunt.

The Mariners then intentionally walked Willy Adames to load the bases. Choi patiently worked the count full before earning the RBI.

Shortstop J.P. Crawford flubbed Tommy Pham‘s grounder to make it 4-2 and Austin Meadows‘ RBI grounder made it a three-run lead.

Oliver Drake (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth. Emilio Pagan got his 10th save, giving up Ryan Court’s home run.

Six Rays pitchers combined to strike out 15.


Former Mariners star Edgar Martinez is making the last stop on his Hall of Fame tour with a fan appreciation weekend that includes giveaways, a roundtable of Seattle notables including Ken Griffey Jr., the Seahawks’ Steve Largent, SuperSonics center Jack Sikma and Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, and one last speech, given to fans on Saturday.

“Sometimes I feel like it’s a little too much,” Martinez said. The speech will be aimed at the fans: “I wanted to let them know how I feel about the fans, the important role they played in my career. It’s been a great relationship for a long time.”

Martinez started the celebration on Friday morning by climbing on the roof of the Space Needle to raise his number.

“Those ladders going up, that’s not a fun task,” he joked.


Rays: Yandy Diaz‘s season appears to be over after doctors discovered a previously undiagnosed hairline fracture in his left foot. Diaz has been out with a bruised foot since July 22 when he fouled a ball off it. X-rays were negative, but manager Kevin Cash said Diaz was taking groundballs Tuesday when he began to experience extreme discomfort. A CT scan uncovered the tiny fracture of the navicular bone. He won’t need surgery, but the recovery time of six to eight weeks effectively ends his season — unless the Rays make it deep into the playoffs.

“It’s in a spot that’s pretty delicate and you don’t want to make anything worse,” Cash said.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez will need one or two more rehab starts after an effective outing Thursday night at Single-A Modesto. He threw 41 pitches over two innings. Manager Scott Servais hopes to stretch him out to five innings before he returns to the Seattle rotation, but isn’t sure where he’ll pitch yet. … OFs Mitch Haniger (testicle surgery) and Braden Bishop (ruptured spleen) will likely start rehab assignments early next week. Both have been out since early June and Servais said they’ll need 25 to 30 minor league at-bats before he’ll consider activating them. … 2B Dee Gordon (right quad strain) met with a doctor Friday and depending on the results could make a rehab start or return to the active roster next week.


Rays: RHP Charlie Morton (12-4, 2.77 ERA) has not had two consecutive losses without a no-decision between them since 2015.

Mariners: An opener will start the game with LHP Wade LeBlanc (6-5, 5.38 ERA) scheduled to take over.