Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays put away Mariners 5-3

SEATTLE — If the Rays are going to be playing in October, these are the type of games they have to win in August.

Facing a struggling team and a scuffling starter. Missing two key players from their lineup. On the road. And with a chance to gain ground after the second-place Red Sox had already lost.

Friday night, they took care of all that, beating the AL-worst Mariners 5-3 without injured Evan Longoria or Jason Bartlett, and extending their American League East lead to 3½ games over the Red Sox, who are playing a tough four-game series at Central-leading Chicago, and 6 1/2 games over the Yankees.

The Rays improved to 69-46, one win shy of their franchise- best mark, and moved back to a record-tying 23 games over .500, for several reasons:

• James Shields provided his usual solid start, working into the seventh, scattering nine hits but allowing only three runs, and improved to 10-7.

• Carlos Pena continued his late-summer revival, homering for the sixth time in his past 14 games, and the 21st overall, and singling in a run.

• Reliever Grant Balfour came on in the seventh to get out red-hot Raul Ibanez, who homered in the ninth off Dan Wheeler to beat the Rays on Thursday, and Troy Percival finished with a sharp 1-2-3 ninth for his 349th save.

• And Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt looked like a knuckehead on the night his bobblehead was given out, making a careless throwing error that led to three Rays runs in the third.

"I thought we hit the ball really well, and I like the at-bats even though we only got five points," manager Joe Maddon said. "Shieldsy was not as sharp as he can be, but he battled through. We played with a lot of intensity and I liked that. The bullpen was really good."

"It was a combination of a lot of things tonight."

Mariners starter Carlos Silva, who came in 4-12 with a 5.92 ERA and without a home win since April 12, should have been an easy mark, though the Rays let him hang around for six innings.

Pena got the Rays started by leading off the second with a homer, though the Mariners answered with a two-run shot by Wladimir Balentien.

The Rays stayed after Silva and scored four in the third, in large part thanks to Betancourt's error.

Ben Zobrist, continuing to impress (and make a case to stay) as Bartlett's backup, started the rally with a single. Akinori Iwamura followed with a single, and B.J. Upton delivered another, scoring Zobrist, and alertly taking second on the throw home.

Carl Crawford then hit what should have been a routine grounder to short, but Bentancourt, perhaps rushed, sailed the ball well over first and into the camera bay, scoring Iwamura and Upton. Plus, Crawford got to move to second, and he scored when Pena delivered another clutch hit, a single to center, making it 5-2.

Pena said the key to his recent success is a simple approach, that he and hitting coach Steve Henderson have spent a lot of time talking about. "I'm seeing the ball well, and I'm focusing on that,'' Pena said. "It sounds kind of cliche, but it's true. If you can keep it that simple, you kind of allow yourself to play, you kind of get out of your own way.''

The Mariners didn't quit and scratched out another run off Shields in the fourth, and all with two outs. Jeff Clement doubled. Balentien reached on an infield single that made it obvious the Rays were missing third baseman Evan Longoria, as replacement Willy Aybar had trouble making the play on a slow roller. Another infield hit by Bryan LaHair made it 5-3, and Balfour kept it there with another solid 11/3-inning outing.

The Rays are now 8-2 in Shields' last 10 starts, as he makes it his prime goal to keep the score close no matter what, even on a night when he said he got by more on "straight guts" than good stuff and had to "bulldog'' his way through the game.

"If they score five runs for me, it's my job to win that game,'' Shields said. "We did a great job overall, and it's good to have a win coming off that loss.''

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Rays 5

Mariners 3

Rays put away Mariners 5-3 08/09/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  2. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  3. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  4. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call

    Blogs

    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  5. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)

    Blogs

    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.