ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Adam Moore was forced to dress about as gingerly as the rest of his team had been tiptoeing around another silent postgame clubhouse.
Luck has not been with the Mariners on this trip and it deserted Moore in the form of two injuries in the top of the eighth inning Saturday as his team tried to add to a lead.
After that rally was quashed, in large part by baserunning injuries to Moore’s heel and knee, Seattle’s bullpen then failed to find any luck at all in what became a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mariners relievers gave up a pair in the eighth and then a walkoff homer in the ninth by Willy Aybar to thwart what had been a pretty good day on the mound.
“It was a tough loss, but we’ve got to move on from this,” Moore said, the side of his left knee and his heel still sore. “We’ve got to move on. Continue to battle.”
Moore is to be re-evaluated today, while the team was still debating whether to call up another catcher from Triple-A. Rob Johnson, already battling back spasms, was forced into the final couple of innings in Moore’s absence.
Seattle had chances to score both before and after a solo homer by Mike Sweeney in the fourth inning – his third in three days since becoming the designated hitter – gave his team a 2-0 lead.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, Jason Vargas, throwing a two-hitter through seven frames, allowed a pair of singles, a stolen base and a run to open the eighth. Brandon League came on from there.
League, in his first outing since a five-run torch job in Baltimore two days earlier, surrendered another single, then saw both runners bunted over before he walked the bases loaded intentionally. Manager Don Wakamatsu then called on Sean White, hoping for a grounder, but got a sacrifice fly to left by Ben Zobrist that tied the score.
Jose Lopez spared the team further damage with a tremendous, leaping catch of an Evan Longoria line drive in foul territory behind his third-base bag. But then Aybar led off the ninth and ended the game by cranking a Jesus Colome pitch over the wall.
The injury to Moore occurred as he legged out a one-out infield single in the eighth, his team clinging to a 2-0 lead.
Moore felt his heel get bruised as he hit the bag and tried to avoid the throw, but stayed in the game. He’d thought all the pain was in his heel, but then, as Ichiro Suzuki lined a ball to the right-field corner, Moore “felt a lot of pressure” on his knee as he approached second.
He held up there in obvious pain.
Instead of runners at second and third with one out, they remained at first and second. After Johnson replaced Moore as a pinch runner, Chone Figgins grounded into a double play from there, allowing the Rays to get starter James Shields off the hook for a loss a half-inning later following his eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance.
“They did X-rays and everything looked fine,” Moore said. “It just kind of jammed on me. We’ll just take it day by day and see what happens.”
Wakamatsu wasn’t feeling too good after his latest balancing act with his bullpen went south.
He pulled League with the bases loaded because “you look at two nights ago and do you want to put him back in that situation?”
League yielded a grand slam in the eighth inning at Baltimore that helped turn a 5-1 lead into a 6-5 defeat.
“With the little room we have offensively, we have to score whenever we get that opportunity,” said Wakamatsu, whose team scored its other run when Figgins scampered home on a wild pitch in the first. “We were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. But it’s one of those games where we had some really bad breaks.”
At some point, though, the good teams make their own luck.
Rays 3, Mariners 2
E—J.Shields (2). LOB—Seattle 4, Tampa Bay 5. 2B—Figgins (6). HR—M.Sweeney (3), off J.Shields; W.Aybar (4), off Colome. RBIs—M.Sweeney (6), Zobrist (16), W.Aybar (10), Brignac (15). SB—F.Gutierrez (4), B.Upton (9). S—Bartlett. SF—Zobrist. RLISP—Seattle 3 (Tuiasosopo 2, Figgins); Tampa Bay 1 (Longoria). GIDP—Figgins, F.Gutierrez, W.Aybar. DP—Seattle 1 (Jo.Lopez, Figgins, Tuiasosopo); Tampa Bay 2 (Bartlett, Zobrist, C.Pena), (Bartlett, Zobrist, C.Pena).
|League H, 2||1/3||1||0||0||1||0||13||3.92|
|White BS, 2-2||2/3||0||0||0||0||0||11||3.38|
|Colome L, 0-1||0||1||1||1||0||0||7||4.97|
|R.Soriano W, 2-0||1||0||0||0||1||0||18||1.80|
IR-S—League 2-1, White 3-1. IBB—off League (Crawford). WP—J.Shields. T—2:39. A—23,627 (36,973).
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