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Raleigh hits three-run homer as Mariners beat Rays to avoid sweep

Dominic Canzone Josh Rojas Seattle Mariners Dominic Canzone Josh Rojas - Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — George Kirby allowed one run in six innings, Cal Raleigh hit a three-run homer and the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Wednesday.

Seattle went 3-6 on a trip to Cleveland, Miami and Tampa Bay and at 19-25 is the only division leader with a losing road record.

“It’s just good to end the road trip on a good note.” Kirby said. “Happy flight.”

Seattle closer Andrés Muñoz, who blew his second save in 15 chances on Monday, loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on two walks and a hit by pitch with the Mariners ahead 5-1. Richie Palacios hit into a run-scoring forceout off Trent Thornton, who got his first big league save when Amed Rosario grounded into a game-ending double play.

“Muny didn’t feel good. today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Just the whole body stuff, and that happens once in a while. You could tell right away he wasn’t on top of his game. A ton of credit to Thorny.”

Kirby (7-5) scattered four hits and struck out seven, his sixth consecutive start giving up two runs or fewer.

Raleigh put Seattle up 3-1 with his 14th homer, a sixth-inning drive off Shawn Armstrong (2-2). The reliever walked the struggling Julio Rodríguez, who had three hits in his previous 32 at-bats, before Raleigh connected on a 422-foot drive to right.

J.P. Crawford made it 5-1 on a two-run single in the seventh.

“We had a bad trip,” Servais said, “It happens to the best teams in the league, and I do think we’re one of the best teams in the league.”

Yandy Díaz extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games with a first-inning single, tying the Rays' record set by Jason Bartlett in 2009.

Tampa Bay reached the midway point at 40-41 after losing for just the third time in 10 games. The Rays were 54-27 at the same point last season en route to an AL wild-card berth.

“We got work to do,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I think that’s the easiest way to put it.”

Díaz also had a third-inning RBI infield single.

Kirby fielded Díaz’s chopper between the mound and the first-base line, but was unsuccessful in beating him to the bag with first baseman Ty France moving toward second on the play. José Caballero, who had doubled, scored from second base.

Rays starter Ryan Pepiot gave one run and one hit over 5 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks.


Mariners: OF Luke Raley was a late scratch due to shoulder discomfort.

Rays: Rosario (facial lacerations) played for the first time since getting hit by a pitch on Saturday and went 0 for 4. … 2B Brandon Lowe (broken right pinky toe) was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game.


Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (5-4, 2.71 ERA) will start Friday night against Minnesota.

Rays: RHP Zach Eflin (3-5, 2.40 ERA) will face Washington and LHP Mitchell Parker (5-3, 3.30 ERA) on Friday night.