Mike Leake pitches into 9th, Mariners hang on to beat Rays 5-4
By MARK DIDTLER
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Mike Leake had Seattle cruising toward a comfortable victory. A late Tampa Bay surge merely helped the Mariners pad their record in one-run games.
Leake pitched into the ninth inning, Mitch Haniger homered and drove in three, and the AL West-leading Mariners beat the Rays 5-4 on Thursday night.
Leake (6-3) was lifted with a 5-1 lead after allowing his eighth hit, a leadoff double in the ninth to Wilson Ramos. Johnny Field hit a three-run double off Alex Colome before the former Rays’ closer got a game-ending grounder from Daniel Robertson.
“We got enough offense early in the game, and pitching and defense was the story again,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Seattle leads the majors in one-run wins (19) and decisions (28).
Haniger has 46 RBIs, one off his career high set last season. The Mariners won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Robertson homered for the Rays, who have scored 16 runs during a seven-game losing streak. The slide includes a three-game sweep last weekend in Seattle.
“Somehow we’ve got to figure out a way to win a ballgame,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays are 9-15 in one-run games.
Seattle took a 3-0 lead in the second off Austin Pruitt (1-3). Dee Gordon hit a sacrifice fly, and then Jean Segura scored from first base on Haniger’s two-run single – a ball that second baseman Joey Wendle dived for and knocked down in shallow right field.
Denard Span, playing at Tropicana Field for the first time since being traded with Colome by Tampa Bay to Seattle on May 25th, made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the third.
“A little odd walking in the stadium and by the home clubhouse definitely felt a little weird, especially when the trade just happened a week ago, ” said Span, who is from nearby Tampa. “It felt like coming home from a long road trip.”
After Robertson had a leadoff shot in the third, Haniger got the run back with a solo drive in the fifth.
— Mariners (@Mariners) June 8, 2018
Pruitt entered in the second after bullpen starter Ryne Stanek worked out of a bases-loaded one-out jam during the first.
Pruitt gave up five runs and seven hits in seven innings.
With Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) and Jake Faria (left oblique strain) both on the disabled list, Tampa Bay is using just Blake Snell and Nate Eovaldi in regular starting roles.
While Faria may be sidelined two months, Archer resumed playing catch Thursday and the Rays are hopeful he will miss no more than two starts.
Rays: Pitching coach Kyle Snyder, hospitalized in Seattle during a road trip last week for an undisclosed issue, rejoined the team.
Rays first baseman Jake Bauers went 0 for 4 in his first major league game. The 22-year-old lined out to left and to second base before second baseman Gordon made a nice play on a hard one-hopper in shallow right field. Bauers struck out in his last at-bat. To make room for Bauers, INF Brad Miller was designated for assignment.
Leake streak of no walks in five straight starts ended when C.J. Cron walked in the eighth. “For some reason when walks get on, they tend to find their way around,” Leake said. “So it’s a nice stat to be a part of.”
Segura had two hits and tops the majors with 28 multihit games.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (6-3) will start the second of the four-game set with Tampa Bay on Friday night. He has allowed a combined one earned run over 26 innings in his last four starts.
Rays: Reliever Wilmer Font (0-0) will become Tampa Bay’s 13th pitcher to start a game this season in its third consecutive bullpen day Friday night.