ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A day after getting shut out and looking quite ineffective, the Mariners’ bats came to life on Saturday in the sterile environs of Tropicana Field.
Dustin Ackley broke open a one-run game in the fifth inning, blasting a bases-loaded double off a 0-2 curveball by Rays starter Alex Cobb to deep center that scored all three base runners, leading Seattle to a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The M’s are 32-29.
“On 0-2, I was looking fastball,” Ackley said. “I’m trying to look fastball on every pitch. And when I do that, I’m usually on time for that curveball. Those are the ones you can’t miss. Those are the ones they leave up that you have to hit.”
“That was a big hit for us,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of Ackley’s double. “And he’s capable of doing that. I tell him every day, ‘I want you to be the best player on the field,’ because he’s capable of doing that.”
Ackley’s hit spurred a four-run fifth. Willie Bloomquist drove in the other run, dumping an RBI double into left field – his second run-scoring hit of the game – to make it 7-2.
Seattle’s Cole Gillespie snapped the 11-inning scoreless streak, crushing a solo homer to center off Cobb in the second inning, his first homer of the year.
“That was one of those where you don’t feel the contact,” Gillespie said. “It was one of my better swings I’ve had this year, if not the best.”
M’s starter Roenis Elias gave the run right back, giving up a solo homer to James Loney to start the bottom of the inning. He walked Yunel Escobar and then gave up a single to Logan Forsythe. Rays manager Joe Maddon had Ali Solis bunt Escobar home from third to make it 2-1.
The M’s answered in the fourth. Bloomquist delivered an RBI single and Endy Chavez added a sacrifice fly to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Ackley broke it open in the fifth – more than enough for Elias, who retired 17 of the next 19 hitters he faced.