SEATTLE — James Paxton threw six strong innings allowing just one earned run in his major league debut, Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales hit solo homers and the Seattle Mariners continued Tampa Bay on their West Coast slide with a 6-2 win over the Rays on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay lost for the seventh time in nine games on its swing through Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles and saw its lead in the AL Wild Card race reduced to one game after both Cleveland and Baltimore won on Saturday. The Rays have spent 61 straight days in position for a postseason berth, but if they can’t avoid a sweep by the Mariners on Sunday, that run might finally end.
Paxton (1-0) became the latest Seattle prospect to make a successful debut, joining Taijuan Walker.
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