ST. PETERSBURG -- Logan Morrison drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 13th to give the Rays a 3-2 win over the Mariners at Tropicana Field, earning the Rays their ninth win in their last 11 games.After Corey Dickerson singled home Evan Longoria in the bottom of the
ST. PETERSBURG -- Logan Morrison drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 13th to give the Rays a 3-2 win over the Mariners at Tropicana Field, earning the Rays their ninth win in their last 11 games.
After Corey Dickerson singled home Evan Longoria in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 2, a lot of zeroes followed. Logan Forsythe broke the quiet with a one-out triple off Mike Montgomery in the bottom of the 13th. Montgomery then hit pinch-hitter Tim Beckham on the foot before Taylor Motter pinch-hit for Longoria, who left with tightness in his left forearm, and drew a walk to load the bases and bring Morrison to the plate.
The count went to 2-2 before Morrison took two consecutive balls to draw the game-winning walk.
The ball "wasn't over the plate, so I didn't swing," Morrison said. "...It's awesome. Winning is way better than losing."
Morrison's walk-off walk was the only time he reached in seven plate appearances. The only other time in his career he was at the plate for a walk-off was May 8, 2015, vs. Oakland and he hit a walk-off homer (while with the Mariners) against Dan Otero.
The Mariners bullpen threw seven scoreless innings with just three hits and 10 strikeouts before Montgomery lost for the second straight night to the Rays.
"I thought I threw a lot better than I did the day before," Montgomery said. "Forsythe hit a pretty good pitch. From there, I just had to battle. The guy made a good at-bat to walk and I thought I made some good pitches to LoMo and the umpire didn't want to call them tonight. That's baseball and that's how it goes. It's frustrating, but you have to move on."
Matt Andriese pitched out of the bullpen for the first time this season, holding the Mariners scoreless over the final 2 2/3 innings of the game to move to 6-0 on the season. The combined Rays' bullpen effort of Erasmo Ramirez, Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno, and Andriese produces 6 1/3 scoreless innings. More >
Drew Smyly started for the Rays and allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings to get a no-decision. He struck out a career-high 12 batters. Nathan Karns started for the Mariners, making his first start against his former team, allowing two runs in five-plus innings to also earn a no-decision.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
He's still Cruz'n:Nelson Cruz gave Seattle a 2-0 lead with his 16th homer of the season, a two-run shot to left-center in the fourth on a 1-0 slider from Smyly. The Mariners designated hitter has been on a nice roll, batting .349 (22-for-63) with six homers and 14 RBIs over his last 16 games. Statcast™ projected this blast at 406 feet and he's now just two back of Robinson Cano for the team lead. Cruz went 1-for-4 with two intentional walks on the night.
Striking back: The Rays have shown an ability to take a hit and bounce back this season. That trait showed through again in the fourth. After falling behind 2-0 in the top half of the fourth, Steve Pearce tripled to open the bottom of the fourth and scored on Dickerson's sacrifice fly, cutting the lead in half.
Conger comes through:Hank Conger's struggles throwing out runners have been well-documented, but the Rays catcher seems to be coming around. In the fourth inning, Conger did his part on a strike 'em-out, throw 'em-out to end the inning when he threw out Kyle Seager stealing after Chris Iannetta struck out, ending the inning. Conger has thrown out 16 percent of attempted basestealers this season compared to 2.3 percent a season ago.
Back at the Trop: Karns tightroped out of two tough spots early against his former teammates. The 28-year-old right-hander struck out Conger and Mikie Mahtook with the bases loaded in the second. And after a leadoff single by Forsythe in the third, he left him stranded at second as well by mowing down the next three hitters, including strikeouts of Longoria and Morrison for the final outs. Karns wound up with a no-decision when reliever Vidal Nuno allowed the tying run to score after inheriting a runner on second in the sixth, but he allowed just four hits and two runs with eight strikeouts in five-plus innings.
"It was definitely interesting," said Karns. "I've spent my whole rookie season with them and have some great memories with them. But at the end of the day, I'm wearing a Mariners jersey and trying to win a ballgame for us. It was just one of those tough games that I wish we had back." More >
"It was there early in the year. If any team can bounce back, it's us. Nobody said it was going to be easy. I think we have enough talent to come up with a winning stretch, we just have to put everything together." -- Cruz, after the Mariners lost for the ninth time in 12 games to fall to 34-31
"Another great win. That was pretty exciting. Guess it got boring there for a couple innings. But nice to see us pull it out. A lot of stuff went on." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mariners became the last team in the AL to suffer a walk-off loss, with the Reds suffering the same fate in the NL on Wednesday. Seattle's last walk-off defeat was on Sept. 26 of last year to the Angels.
Smyly struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings, establishing a career-high. His previous high was 11.
"Just attacking hitters and throwing with conviction," said Smyly explaining his success.
Mariners: Left-hander James Paxton (0-2, 2.25 ERA) makes his fourth start in place of Felix Hernandez in Thursday's 10:10 a.m. PT series finale at Tropicana Field. Paxton hasn't faced the Rays since beating them in his MLB debut in 2013 in Seattle.
Rays: Much-heralded rookie Blake Snell (0-0, 1.80) will make his second start for the Rays this season in the 1:10 p.m. finale to the Rays-Mariners series. He last pitched for Triple-A Durham on Friday and had a career-high 13 strikeouts in 5 ⅔ innings.
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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011.