ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Randy Arozarena had a two-run triple during a three-run third and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Wednesday to avoid a season series sweep.
The Rays went 1-6 overall against Seattle, including losing the first two games of the three-game set.
Josh Fleming (9-5) allowed two runs and five hits, and Mike Zunino hit his 21st homer for the Rays. Ryan Sherriff, the third Tampa Bay reliever, worked the ninth to get his first save.
”It felt really good,” Fleming said. ”Guys are joking in the clubhouse like, no one-season sweep us. They may get one series sweep, but they don’t do it again.”
Tampa Bay went 5-4 during a homestand that also included the New York Yankees, in which the Rays dropped two of three, and a sweep of Boston.
”We knew this was going to be a grind of a homestand,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”It is nice to come out of the homestand with a winning record.”
Seattle heads to New York to play the Yankees in a four-game series between playoff contenders that starts Thursday night.
”I love what we’re doing, I really do,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ”We’re not taking a back seat to anybody. We’re ready to compete no matter who we’re playing. I’m looking to the series in New York. It’s going to be fun, a fun weekend.”
Mariners rookie Logan Gilbert (5-3) gave up three runs. four hits and four walks over five innings. Seattle had won 11 consecutive games, dating to May 25, when Gilbert started. The right-hander was 5-0 during the stretch.
Gilbert had around 50 family and friends in attendance. He is from Apopka, Florida, which is about 100 miles from Tropicana Field.
”I don’t think it was too much of a distraction or anything like that,” Gilbert said. ”It was just nice to have them out supporting me.”
Tampa Bay had been hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position during the series prior to Arozarena’s triple that center fielder Jarred Kelenic failed to make a running catch on.
”He lost it between the roof here and the lights,” Servais said, ”He looked up and he had a bead on it, and he lost it there for a second. That’s why he wasn’t able to complete the play.”
Arozarena came home to make it 3-1 on Joey Wendle’s sacrifice fly.
Zunino gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 advantage on a sixth-inning solo shot.
Seattle had two on with no outs in the eighth but scored just once, on Matt Wisler’s wild pitch.
Mitch Haniger hit a ground-ball triple leading off the sixth that deflected off the glove of a diving Arozarena in left field and ended Fleming’s day. Kyle Seager cut the Mariners’ deficit to 3-2 on a sacrifice fly off JT Chargois.
Seager has 15 RBIs over his last 15 games,
Dylan Moore had a two-out single in the third, swiped second for his 17th stolen base, and scored on a single by J.P. Crawford to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.
Mariners: Scheduled to begin the 2022 season at home on March 31 against Detroit. After four games with the Tigers, Seattle hosts a pair against the Los Angeles Angels.
Rays: Will open the 2022 season with a six-game road trip, with opening day March 31 at Boston. Tampa Bay’s home opener is against Baltimore on April 8 to begin a seven-game homestand.
Rays: RHP Collin McHugh (right arm fatigue) had a bullpen session and should be back this weekend. . RHP Chris Archer (right forearm tightness), who left his start Sunday with Triple-A Durham due to left hip soreness, is scheduled to resume throwing Friday.
Mariners: LHP Tyler Anderson (5-8 overall, 0-0 with Seattle) will make his second start since being acquired from Pittsburgh Thursday night against Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (0-0).
Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (6-4) is the starter Thursday night at Baltimore as Tampa Bay begins a nine-game trip.
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