Upton, Rays rally to beat Mariners

BY foxsports • September 24, 2009

B.J. Upton and the Tampa Bay Rays are trying to end a disappointing season in a positive fashion.

Upton had three RBIs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth, to help the Rays beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Wednesday night.

The center fielder, who has struggled this year after hitting seven homers and driving in 16 runs during the 2008 postseason, ended the game by taking away an extra-base hit from pinch hitter Bill Hall with a leaping catch at the wall.

"It's all about confidence. He's a young man, his confidence is going to come back and when his confidence comes back you're going to see him doing those kind of things on a more regular basis," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

Hall was impressed by Upton's catch.

"He's an unbelievable player that makes plays like that all the time," Hall said. "I guess I just need to hit it out of his reach."

Upton is hitting just .237 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs this season. He has five RBIs the past two games after driving in three runs over the previous 22 games.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases on a single and two walks with one out against Mark Lowe (2-7) in the eighth and Upton then gave the Rays a 5-4 lead on his single to left.

Akinori Iwamura had two RBIs for the Rays, who are 6-3 since an 11-game losing skid. The defending AL champions, eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday, need to win four of their final 10 games to record a second-ever over .500 season.

"This hasn't gone the way we wanted it to all year," Upton said. "I'm not so much worried about me, just as a team trying to finish strong."

Ichiro Suzuki hit an RBI single and Franklin Gutierrez had a run-scoring grounder to put Seattle ahead 3-0 in the fifth. The Mariners lost for the second time in seven games.

"It was one of those games that we played good baseball throughout the first five innings," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Seattle went ahead 4-0 in the sixth when Adrian Beltre scored on Upton's errant throw on Jack Hannahan's single. Upton, trying to throw out Beltre at third, was charged with an error.

Russ Springer (1-4) got the final out in the eighth for the win. Randy Choate pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

The Rays pulled within 4-3 during the bottom of the sixth when Iwamura hit a two-run triple off reliever Garrett Olson and Upton drove in a run with single against Miguel Batista.

Seattle right-hander Brandon Morrow gave up two runs and three hits in five-plus innings.

Rays rookie Wade Davis allowed four runs - two earned - and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings. He was coming off a 3-0 complete game victory over Baltimore last Thursday in his third career start.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out in the second, but failed to score when Dioner Navarro flew out to left and Reid Brignac struck out.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead during the third when Michael Saunders scored from third on Navarro's passed ball. Saunders had three hits, including a triple.

NOTES: Upton has six hits in 11 at-bats over the last three games. ... Suzuki went 2 for 4 and tied George Burns for 247th place on all-time list with 2,018 hits. He also matched his 2008 hit total of 213. ... Seattle 1B Russell Branyan (back) took 35 swings off a tee. He might return to the lineup next week. ... Davis held Seattle DH Ken Griffey Jr. hitless in three at-bats, including two strikeouts.

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