SEATTLE (AP)—The sting from an 11th-inning loss a night earlier didn’t become a two-day hangover for Tampa Bay.
Longoria broke a 3-all tie with his 24th homer of the season and Pena added a two-run shot moments later in Tampa Bay’s 10-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, the Rays’ sixth victory in eight games.
After seeing Ryan Langerhans(notes) celebrate following a two-out homer on Friday night that gave Seattle a 7-6 win, the Rays quickly bounced back and gained another game on the slumping Red Sox in the AL wild-card chase.
“It was a big blow. We got knocked out late,” Pena said. “But for us to come back fresh again and put that behind us and play like nothing happened that’s great.”
Longoria’s homer came in the fifth inning and gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead. Two batters later, Pena went deep off Seattle reliever Chris Jakubauskas(notes) for his 28th homer of the season. Tampa Bay then cushioned its lead with four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Jason Barlett’s two-run single.
Choate took over for starter James Shields(notes) with one out in the sixth, runners on second and third and the Rays holding a 6-4 lead. The sidewinding lefty forced Ichiro Suzuki(notes) to reach for an outside fastball and induced a slow roller to third for the second out. Choate then got out of the jam when Russell Branyan(notes) tapped back to the mound.
That sequence ensured Shields (7-8) would get his first win since June 20.
“It’s big. Tonight was a total team effort. I felt I had some pretty good stuff tonight, I just didn’t go as long as I wanted to go,” Shields said.
Shields wasn’t near as sharp as his last outing when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He was knocked out in the sixth after Michael Saunders’(notes) third hit, a double into the right-field corner, scored Franklin Gutierrez(notes), advanced Rob Johnson(notes) to third and ended Shields’ night.
But Choate ended the chance and the Rays trio of Choate, Grant Balfour(notes) and Brian Shouse(notes) set down the final 11 Seattle batters. Tampa Bay moved within 1 1/2 games of Boston in the AL wild-card chase, while Seattle remained 5 1/2 back.
“It’s nice to be one of the top bullpens in baseball. We’ve done pretty well so far,” Choate said. “When you do cough it up a little bit like last night, to be able to come back and get an out in an important spot and be able to get the win it’s nice to have a comeback like that.”
Longoria’s homer came after Seattle rallied from an early 3-0 deficit and a meltdown by starter Ian Snell(notes), who lasted just 1 1-3 innings and walked six batters. It was his fifth homer in the last 10 games.
Snell was making his debut at Safeco Field following a strong first start with the Mariners after being traded along with Jack Wilson(notes) to Seattle on July 30. It certainly wasn’t the first impression Snell was hoping to make on the home crowd.
“To be honest I was a little nervous, a littler jittery, probably a little too excited and the adrenaline was rushing to much. That caused me to keep the ball up in the zone,” Snell said. “I dug us a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Snell gave up four walks in the first inning—including a walk of Pat Burrell(notes) with the bases loaded—along with an RBI single to Zobrist. The second inning wasn’t any better as Snell walked Bartlett for a second time, allowed a double to Carl Crawford(notes) and saw Barlett score on Longoria’s infielder grounder. Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu saw enough when Snell issued his sixth walk on a 3-2 pitch to Zobrist. It matched the shortest start of Snell’s career.
Jakubauskas got out of the second inning jam with a double play and pitched 4 2-3 strong innings of relief, his only hiccup being the two homers allowed.
Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in the second off Shields, his 13th of the season, and scored on scored on Saunders’ double in the sixth. Gutierrez
NOTES: Seattle pitchers allowed a season-high 10 walks. Six of the 10 scored. … Snell lasted just 1 1-3 innings on May 14, 2006, against Florida while with Pittsburgh. … Seattle RHP Doug Fister(notes) made his major league debut in the ninth. Newly acquired C Gregg Zaun(notes) made his debut with the Rays. Zaun went 1-for-5.