A day after getting shut out and looking quite ineffective, the Mariners’ bats came to life Saturday in sterile Tropicana Field, baseball’s equivalent of a shopping mall. Dustin Ackley broke open a 3-2 game in the fifth inning, blasting a bases-loaded double off an 0-2 curveball from Rays starter Alex Cobb to deep center that scored all three runners, leading Seattle to a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mariners moved back to three games over .500 at 32-29. “On 0-2, I was looking fastball,” he said. “I’m trying to look fastball on every pitch. And when I do that, I’m usually on time for that curveball. Those are the ones you can’t miss. Those are the ones they leave up that you have to hit.” It’s a mistake that Cobb regretted. “That’s a pitch that’s going to haunt for me a while,” he said. “I knew I needed to bear down really hard right there. I tried to bury a curveball, and left it right in his swing path. That’s exactly where he wants to hit the ball. That’s definitely a pitch that’s going to be replayed in my mind over and over.” Ackley’s hit spurred a four-run fifth inning. Willie Bloomquist drove in the other run in the inning, dumping an RBI double into left field — his second run-scoring hit of the game — to make it 7-2. “That was a big hit for us,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Ackley’s double. “And he’s capable of doing that. I tell him every day, ‘I want you to be the best player on the field,’ because he’s capable of doing that.” But it was Cole Gillespie who snapped Seattle’s 11-inning scoreless streak, crushing a solo homer over the center-field wall off Cobb. It was Gillespie’s first homer of the season. “That was one of those where you don’t feel the contact,” he said. “It was one of my better swings I’ve had this year, if not the best.” While there were still seven innings left to play, Gillespie’s homer was certainly a relief for an offense that can go achingly long periods without scoring. “I think it was big for us,” Gillespie said. “To get on the board early and put some runs up ... it was big.” The lead was short-lived. Mariners’ starter Roenis Elias gave the run right back, giving up a solo homer to James Loney to start the bottom of the inning. He walked Yunel Escobar and then gave up a single to Logan Forsyth. Rays manager Joe Maddon had Ali Solis bunt Escobar home from third to make it 2-1. The Mariners answered in the fourth inning. Bloomquist delivered an RBI single and Endy Chavez added a sacrifice fly to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. Bloomquist, starting at first base for an ailing Justin Smoak, was 2 for 4 with two runs batted in. In his last three starts, he’s 5 for 11 with three RBI. Ackley broke it open in the fifth inning, which was more than enough for Elias. After Forsyth’s single in the second, Elias retired 15 of the next 16 hitters he faced.
Mariners knock off Rays, 7-4
Seattle Times | Jun 8