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Jarred Kelenic’s clutch homer goes for naught as Mariners cough up lead in ninth, lose to Rays

Tampa Bay Rays’ Yandy Diaz, right, scores on a Randy Arozarena single as Seattle Mariners catcher Tom Murphy recovers the ball during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, May 6, 2022, in Seattle.  (Associated Press)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The crisp night air felt electric as Jarred Kelenic rounded the bases. His pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, sending 20,000-plus fans in T-Mobile Park into a frenzy.

His outburst of emotion and the intense celebration with teammates in front of the Mariners’ dugout only raised the decibels.

Would it be a breakthrough moment for the once-heralded prospect still trying to find his way in the big leagues? Would a comeback win stop the stretch of losing for the team?


Roughly 15 minutes later, the time it took for Paul Sewald to give up back-to-back singles and serve up a three-run homer to Manuel Margot, all the hope and excitement from the building had dissipated and a familiar feeling of frustration had returned.

Even after Eugenio Suarez hit a solo homer to cut the lead to one run in the ninth.

The moment was lost.

The Rays brought in Brooks Raley to retire the next three batter to end the game.

All losses sting, and the Mariners have felt plenty of pain in the past two weeks, but this 8-7 loss might have been the most hurtful.

They lost a game they should have won. They lost a game that Logan Gilbert started and they actually scored runs. They lost catcher Tom Murphy to a dislocated left shoulder.

Gilbert pitched five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) with three walks and six strikeouts.

Suarez gave Gilbert a brief 2-0 lead, smacking his fifth homer of the season – a two-run blast into Edgar’s Cantina off right-hander Matt Wisler.

But three of the four runs came in the second inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Gilbert allowed three consecutive RBI hits – all line-drive singles to center off breaking pitches – to Yandy Diaz (knuckle curve), Wander Franco (slider) and Randy Arozarena (slider).

Seeing that the Rays were hitting his off-speed pitches with authority, Gilbert turned to his mid-90s fastball and found success.

He retired seven consecutive batters and his teammates retook the lead in the fourth. Suarez worked a leadoff walk off lefty Josh Fleming. Jesse Winker followed with his first of two doubles to put runners on second and third with no outs. Abraham Toro scored Suarez with a sacrifice fly to left and Dylan Moore plated Winker with a single to left to make it 4-3.