Kevin Kiermaier homered leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the score and the winning run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch as the Tampa Bay Rays salvaged the finale of a three-game series against the Mariners with a 7-6 victory Wednesday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The M’s had their four-game winning streak snapped but completed their nine-game trip with a 6-3 record, winning all three series at Detroit, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Following Kiermaier’s homer, his 13th of the season, to straightaway center field off Mariners right-hander Matt Magill (3-1), Willy Adames lined a single to left and doubled into the left-field corner. After an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi to load the bases, Magill threw a curveball in the dirt to Tommy Pham, with the ball bouncing off catcher Omar Narvaez and toward the third-base dugout, allowing Adames to score the winning run.
The Mariners scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-5 lead. Daniel Vogelbach led off with a homer, his 28th, off Rays closer Emilio Pagan (3-2). With one out, Jake Fraley was hit by a pitch and Dee Gordon singled on a soft liner down the right-field line, sending Fraley to third. Gordon stole second and scored when Mallex Smith hit a two-run triple into the right-field corner.
Guillermo Heredia also homered for the Rays.
The M’s will call up LHP Justus Sheffield to start Friday’s series opener against Toronto and RHP Felix Hernandez will return from the injured list to start Saturday. LHP Yusei Kikuchi, who pitched a two-hit shutout his last time out, will be skipped this turn through the rotation to rest his arm.
By the Numbers
63: Number of players used by the M’s this season after CF Jake Fraley made his major-league debut Wednesday. That’s one shy of the major-league record set by the 2014 Texas Rangers.
Our take from Right Field
Fraley went 0 for 3 in his debut but showed why he’s considered one of the M’s top prospects. After striking out in his first at-bat on a 94-mph Morton fastball, Fraley lined out to the warning track in the right-field corner and hit a hard one-hopper that nearly handcuffed the second baseman. He was hit by a pitch in his final plate appearance.
The M’s have Thursday off before opening a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m. Friday at T-Mobile Park. LHP Justus Sheffield (0-0, 6.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for Seattle, while the Blue Jays have yet to announce their rotation for this weekend.
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