Reliever Mike Montgomery ended a 13-inning marathon, in which Seattle and Tampa Bay combined to strike out 35 times, by issuing a walk-off walk to former Mariner Logan Morrison, 0-for-6 as he stood at the plate, giving the Rays a 3-2 victory at Tropicana Field Wednesday night. The rapidly fading Mariners (34-31) have dropped four in a row and fell 6.5 games behind Texas in the AL West (box).
Six Seattle pitchers collaborated to strike out 19 Rays and held Tampa Bay to 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. But Montgomery couldn’t find the plate. The game lasted four hours, 38 minutes.
Montgomery relieved closer Steve Cishek in the 13th and struck out Jeff Decker. But Logan Forsythe tripled into the right-field corner. Montgomery added to his woes by plunking Tim Beckham and walking Taylor Motter. Morrison, traded to Tampa in the off-season and hitting .234, worked Montgomery to a full count before receiving the game-deciding ball four.
DH Nelson Cruz provided Seattle with its only offense, crushing his 16th home run with 2B Robinson Cano aboard, in the fourth inning. Cruz, who is batting .300, also drew a pair of intentional walks . . . C Chris Iannetta went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and CF Leonys Martin was 2-for-4 with a walk . . . Seattle went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, stranded 10, fanned a season-bigh 16 times (Cruz and 1B Dae-Ho Lee three times each) and generated no offense after the eighth inning . . . The Mariners have hit 96 home runs.
Seattle starter Nathan Karns worked five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Karns (4.06 ERA) threw 91 pitches, 59 for strikes and left with a 2-1 lead in a bid for his sixth victory . . .Vidal Nuno (2.0), Joaquin Benoit (1.0) and Nick Vincent (2.2) collaborated for 5.2 innings of scoreless relief with Vincent (no hits, two strikeouts) particularly effective in his longest outing of the year . . . Cishek struck out three and walked three in 1.1 innings . . . Montgomery took the loss, falling to 2-3, 2.72 . . . Mariners pitchers have struck out at least 10 batters in each of the last four games — all losses.
“We really competed our butts off, just not enough to get over the hump. We just came up short. We had some chances early in the game, but not much later. That came back to haunt us. Our bullpen for the most part was outstanding. (Montgomery) battled, but didn’t make pitches when he needed to. This one was tough to lose. It happens once in a while.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
The Mariners, 3-2 against the Rays, fell to 19-13 on the road, 12-7-3 in overall series and 7-2-2 in road series . . . Mariners are 7-4 vs. the AL East . . . Taijuan Walker, who had a right foot injury vTuesday night, said Wednesday he expects to make his next start Sunday. “We won’t know what will happen for a day or two,” said Servais . . . Ichiro Suzuki, who played for the Mariners from 2001-12, collected the 4,256th and 4,257th hits of his professional career Wednesday, surpassing Pete Rose’s all-time MLB record. Ichiro singled in the first and doubled in the ninth, the latter off ex-Mariner Fernando Rodney, in Miami’s game at San Diego. Ichiro had 1,278 hits for Orix in Japan’s Pacific League before signing with the Mariners in 2001. Wednesday’s hits were his 2,978th and 2,979th in the majors (2,533 with the Mariners). Seattle OF Nori Aoki’s take: “It’s an incredible feat. Even if you’re adding MLB and Japan, it’s still an unthinkable number.”
The third and final game of the series is Thursday at 10:10 a.m., PT. LHP James Paxton (0-2, 2.25) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Blake Snell (1-0, 1.80), a Seattle native (Shorewood High School). The Mariners move to Fenway Park in Boston Friday to begin a three-game series with the Red Sox. Hishashi Iwakuma will contest former Mariner Roenis Elias.