Tampa Bay (61-49) moved within 1 1/2 games of wild card-leading Boston following a 10-4 win over Seattle (57-53) on Saturday. The Rays had eight hits but did a lot of their damage by capitalizing on a season-high 10 walks issued by the Mariners, including six over 1 1-3 innings thrown by starter Ian Snell(notes).
Six of the 10 walks came around to score, including two during a four-run eighth.
Besides issuing all those walks, Seattle also gave up homers to Evan Longoria(notes) and Carlos Pena(notes) in the fifth, when the Rays broke open a 3-all game. Tampa Bay has won seven of 10 and was able to bounce back from an 11-inning loss in the series opener.
“It was a big blow. We got knocked out late,” Pena said about Friday’s loss. “But for us to come back fresh again and put that behind us and play like nothing happened that’s great.”
The Mariners, 5 1/2 games out of the wild card, had been looking to win their fourth straight at home. They had also won three of the previous four against the Rays in Seattle.
Unlike Friday, though, when Seattle rallied from four down, the Mariners struggled at the plate late in the game, putting together two hits in the final five innings. Franklin Gutierrez(notes) had three hits, including a two-run homer in the second.
The Rays will try to close out the first series of their six-game road trip with a win when they face Rowland-Smith (1-1, 4.22 ERA), who lasted four innings at Kansas City on Tuesday.
The left-hander didn’t receive a decision after giving up five runs in the 7-6 win, throwing 77 pitches. He had pitched seven innings in back-to-back starts since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on July 24.
Rowland-Smith has made one start and three relief appearances against the Rays in his career, pitching 10 2-3 innings while allowing four runs.
Tampa Bay will counter with Scott Kazmir(notes) (6-6, 6.10), who looks to win his third straight start. The left-hander gave up three runs in six innings of a 10-4 victory against the Royals on Monday.
Kazmir hasn’t faced Seattle since 2007. He is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA against the Mariners.
Springer, who was in Seattle and available for Saturday night’s game, went 0-1 with a 4.10 ERA in 48 games for the Athletics.
“We’ve always liked Springer,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose bullpen has the second-lowest ERA in the AL at 3.37. “We just felt at this time it was good to augment the bullpen.”
Tampa Bay is trying to win its third consecutive series.