SEATTLE — Eric Thames’ two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night and snapped the Tampa Bay Rays’ seven-game winning streak.
Kyle Seager started the winning rally with a single to right field off Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney, and pinch-hitter Chone Figgins pushed a bunt that first baseman Carlos Pena fielded. Pena glanced at second, pivoted, double-clutched, and then threw wide of first base.
Seager sprinted to third, and Figgins advanced to second. Justin Smoak’s deep sacrifice fly to center field scored Seager to tie the game 2-2 and gave Rodney (2-2) his first blown save since May 26 — ending the closer’s run of 22 consecutive saves.
Thames’ hit into short right field on an 1-2 pitch scored Figgins and made a winner of Stephen Pryor (2-0), who worked 1 2-3 innings.
Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked one. The Rays’ staff has the best ERA in the majors since the All-Star break.
Kevin Millwood gave up two runs, eight hits and one in seven innings for Seattle. He struck out a season-high eight.
Four pitches into the game, Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead. Desmond Jennings singled and B.J. Upton followed with a broken-bat fly ball to left that became a triple when Trayvon Robinson dove but failed to make the catch.
Jennings scored, and Upton had his second triple of the season. Evan Longoria’s sacrifice fly to right scored Upton.
Smoak found out he was coming back to the majors on Monday when was replaced by a pinch-hitter while playing minor league-ball in Memphis. He flew to Seattle on Tuesday morning and doubled on the first pitch he saw.
Miguel Olivo followed with a double that drove in Smoak and pulled the Mariners within 2-1 in the second inning.
Moore and Millwood controlled things from there.
Jeff Keppinger doubled to left, and Carlos Pena walked with two out in the Rays’ fourth. Millwood then fell behind Ryan Roberts 3-0 before coming back to strike him out and end the threat.
Millwood wriggled out of trouble again in the fifth when Jennings and Upton hit consecutive singles. Millwood struck out Matt Joyce and Longoria to end the inning. He struck out Keppinger and Pena in the sixth, setting a season-high with eight strikeouts. Joyce struck out three times.
The Rays pressured Millwood more in the seventh when Roberts and Jose Molina began the inning with singles. Jennings, already 3 for 3, bounced a high grounder toward third base to Seager, who started a double play. Millwood then retired Upton.