Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays rout Seattle Mariners 9-1, pad AL East lead

ST. PETERSBURG — Catcher John Jaso said the biggest key for the Rays in this final week of the regular season is to play to their full capabilities going into the playoffs and getting "our wheels turning at a good rate."

So it was fitting that Jaso's legs set the tone for Tampa Bay's 9-1 victory Saturday night over the last-place Mariners in front of 26,427 at Tropicana Field.

Jaso led off the Rays' four-run first inning by making the daring decision to go for a double on a hard-hit ball to rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who has one of the best arms in the American League. One batter later, Ben Zobrist repeated the feat with a double of his own, with manager Joe Maddon saying Jaso "gave him the courage to do so."

"Most players are not going to challenge Ichiro in that situation," Maddon said. "And he did, and he's safe. Everybody in the dugout was like, 'No! No! No!' And then they're like, 'Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!' It worked out great."

The Rays' continued aggressive play — as well as a strong seven-inning performance from right-hander Matt Garza — put them in position to clinch a playoff berth as early as tonight, with a win and a Red Sox loss to the Yankees.

Just last week, the Rays (93-61) were in danger of falling 2½ games behind the Yankees in the American League East. After four straight wins, they are 1½ ahead of New York with eight to play. The Rays also moved one game ahead of the Twins for best record in the AL and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

"We're playing as well as we have in a while," Maddon said. "You lose two games (in New York) and you come back and win two, and that showed a lot about the group in general, their character, their makeup, their want-to. Our guys proved that up there. Now you're seeing the residue of that."

The Rays also saw Garza's best performance in weeks as the right-hander picked up his 15th win by giving up just one run over seven.

"My main concern (Saturday) was going out and pumping the zone," Garza said. "I was able to put guys in counts I needed, I wanted."

In his previous 14 innings over three starts, Garza had given up a combined 20 runs.

"I did it (Saturday) in (92 pitches), so that's even better," he said. "I've been using 90 pitches through four. (Saturday) was a lot better. But I'm still not completely done. I'm just going to keep going."

That's what the Rays offense did Saturday, as Carl Crawford picked up three hits and B.J. Upton continued to look good at the plate with a triple and a homer. Matt Joyce hit a two-run homer but said it was Jaso's first-inning double that got them going.

"I just saw the opportunity and was glad I took it," Jaso said. "I'm sure (Ichiro) has thrown out plenty of guys doing the exact same thing. But I think Maddon will agree he wants us to keep doing these kinds of things."

Said Maddon: "There's a lot of energy about the whole group, on the field and in the clubhouse. We know what we're after. It's pretty fun to watch."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Magic number

2 Combination of Rays wins and Red Sox losses needed to clinch a postseason berth.

Rays 9

Mariners 1

Tampa Bay Rays rout Seattle Mariners 9-1, pad AL East lead 09/25/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 26, 2010 12:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.