Kyle Seager simply refused to surrender the spotlight Tuesday night in leading the Seattle Mariners to a rollicking 7-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in 10 innings at Tropicana Field.
Seager’s second homer of the game, a one-out drive to straightaway center, punctuated a wild ride that saw Fernando Rodney squander a three-run lead in the ninth inning.
That three-run lead came courtesy of a Seager grand slam in the eighth inning. The Mariners held on in the 10th behind Joe Beimel, which meant Rodney (2-2) got the victory.
The roller coaster started with the Mariners jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, squandering the chance to get much more, and then giving the lead right back later in the inning.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
The Rays then took a 3-2 lead on Jake Elmore’s two-out RBI single in the third against Mariners starter J.A. Happ.
It stayed 3-2 until the eighth, when Seager hit a grand slam. That broke a franchise-record drought of 140 bases-loaded plate appearances without a slam.
Rodney couldn’t hold it, although it was an off-target throw by second baseman Robinson Cano on a potential game-ending double play that permitted the Rays to score the tying run.
Seager’s game-winner came against Brad Boxberger (2-2). His slam was the first by a Mariner since a Brad Miller bomb on Sept. 28, 2013, in a 7-5 victory over Oakland at Safeco Field.
The previous club-record drought was 133 plate appearances from 1979-81.
Seager’s slam seemed to punctuate a nice comeback after the Mariners appeared headed for another numbing loss. Their attack flat-lined after a two-run brace in the first inning against Rays starter Alex Colome.
Happ spit back that two-run lead later in the first inning after hitting a batter and walking a batter with two outs when Elmore dinked a two-run single into right field that tied the game.
Elmore tormented Happ with another two-out RBI single in the third inning and, as the Mariners kept rolling over inning after inning, that began looking like the winning run.
That changed in the eighth inning.
Rickie Weeks led off with a pinch single against lefty Jake McGee, the fifth Tampa Bay pitcher. After Willie Bloomquist replaced Weeks as a pinch-runner, Cano sliced a single to left.
Nelson Cruz then hit a sharp grounder to old friend Nick Franklin at second that should have been a double play. But Franklin booted the ball, and all runners were safe.
Seager crushed McGee’s next pitch for a no-doubt slam to right field.
Then it was just a matter of holding onto the three-run margin.
Tom Wilhelmsen (2-0) got the first out in the Rays’ eighth after escaping a second-and-third jam with one out in the seventh inning.
Charlie Furbush closed out the eighth, which got the game to Rodney.
The Mariners (22-23) cliched a winning road trip at 5-3 heading into Wednesday’s series finale. They will have Felix Hernandez on the mound in an effort to sweep the series and get back to .500.