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Balance of power tilts Mariners' way vs. Rays

May 10, 2016

SEATTLE -- Franklin Gutierrez and Dae-Ho Lee provided the offensive punch with a pair of home runs on Tuesday at Safeco Field as surging Seattle topped Tampa Bay, 6-4, despite a trio of long balls by the Rays.Mariners lefty Wade Miley (3-2, 4.91 ERA) picked up his third straight win

SEATTLE -- Franklin Gutierrez and Dae-Ho Lee provided the offensive punch with a pair of home runs on Tuesday at Safeco Field as surging Seattle topped Tampa Bay, 6-4, despite a trio of long balls by the Rays.
Mariners lefty Wade Miley (3-2, 4.91 ERA) picked up his third straight win while allowing just four hits over six-plus innings, but three of those hits were solo homers as first baseman Steve Pearce ripped a pair and right fielder Steven Souza Jr. added another for the Rays.
"I was happy with it," Miley said. "Obviously the home runs are never fun, but we were able to go out and score some runs early. I was just trying to get outs and made a few mistakes and those guys did a good job capitalizing, but at the same time, we had a few more runs than they did, so it worked out."
Drew Smyly surrendered a season-high 10 hits and six runs in five frames for the Rays as he fell to 1-4 with a 3.63 ERA. Lee's three-run blast in the fourth gave Seattle a 6-2 lead, and the Mariners hung on to win for the 18th time in their past 25 games and maintain a 1 1/ 2-game lead over Texas in the American League West at 20-13.
"Put ourselves in a hole early," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously that's tough to do on the road and come back from that. But I was really impressed with the way the offense continued to battle. ... We were putting a lot of pressure on their pitchers. Just not quite enough, obviously as it played out."
Steve Cishek earned the four-out save for Seattle, coming on in the eighth to retire Souza on a sliding catch down the right-field line by Nelson Cruz to strand two runners and then finishing with three strikeouts in the ninth for his 11th save. The Rays fell into fourth place in the AL East at 15-16.

Guti gets it going: Gutierrez hasn't been as productive in the early going this season in his platoon role, but the 33-year-old outfielder launched his first homer of the season to highlight Seattle's three-run first off Smyly. Gutierrez hit 15 homers in 171 at-bats last year, but it took him 40 at-bats to reach the seats in 2016 as he drove a 3-1 fastball to the opposite field for a two-run shot projected at 402 feet by Statcast™.
"It's hard not playing a lot, but I try to stay ready and it was nice to help out today by getting some runs on the board early," Gutierrez said. More >

Back to third: With Lee batting with two outs in the first, home-plate umpire Jerry Layne called a balk when Smyly stopped his delivery, which allowed Cruz to score from third. Catcher Curt Casali clearly called timeout before Smyly stopped, as witnessed by everybody in the ballpark when he held his arms in the air. Cash came out to argue the point further, until Layne, the crew chief, huddled with the rest of the crew. They decided the Rays had indeed called timeout and Cruz was sent back to third, which kept the Mariners' lead at 3-0 rather than 4-0.
"Jerry's obviously a long-time veteran umpire," Cash said. "Very impressive, the way he handled the situation. He admitted there was some confusion and corrected it."

Pearce goes deep, twice: Pearce homered on a 3-1 pitch from Miley in the second to cut the Mariners' lead to 3-1. He added a second homer on an 0-2 pitch in the fourth, giving him five home runs for the season and the fourth multi-homer game of his career. His last multi-home run game came on Sept. 18 against the Rays when he played for the Orioles. More >

Big boy power: Lee continues to be one of the Mariners' early feel-good stories as the 33-year-old rookie from Korea blasted his fifth home run with his three-run shot in the fourth. The 250-pound first baseman hit a walk-off homer to halt a five-game losing streak early in the season and ripped a pair of of homers -- including the go-ahead blast -- in a 9-8 comeback win in Oakland last week. This time Lee launched an opposite-field homer off Smyly to give Miley a 6-2 cushion.
"Our bullpen was outstanding tonight. It's crazy. A couple days ago I did talk to Cishek about the possibility of a four- or five-out save. 'Have you done it before? Are you comfortable doing it?' You kind of see it might get to that at some point, just where we're at [with injuries in the bullpen]. Awesome job. He didn't have his best stuff, but he was able to get through it. Great job by our entire bullpen." -- Mariners manager Scott Servais

"Just a bad night. They hit every bad pitch I made. They hit a few good pitches I made. I just wasn't very good. My stuff wasn't very sharp. Seemed like every time they put it in play, it found a hole." -- Smyly on his performance

Casali went 0-for-4 against basestealers to start the season, but he's been hot lately. When the Rays catcher threw out Leonys Martin in the fourth inning, he extended his streak of runners he's thrown out attempting to steal to three.
Rays:Chris Archer (2-4, 4.23 ERA) makes his eighth start of the season in the 3:40 p.m. ET game on Wednesday. After a slow start to his season, he is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last three starts.
Mariners:Taijuan Walker (2-2, 1.97 ERA) makes his first start since being pulled after two innings Friday in Houston due to neck spasms as Seattle closes out the three-game series in a 12:40 p.m. PT game on Wednesday. The 23-year-old will be facing the Rays for the first time in his career.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.