Once again the Seattle Mariners struggled to come up with the big hit.
A two-run homer by Nelson Cruz in the fourth inning Wednesday night gave the Mariners an early lead, but they couldn’t get anything going after that before falling 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays in 13 innings.
“Nobody said it was going to be easy,” Cruz said after his 16th home run and his fifth in nine games.
Mike Montgomery walked Logan Morrison with the bases loaded in the 13th to bring in the winning run. Logan Forsythe tripled with one out and scored the winning run after Montgomery hit pinch-hitter Tim Beckham with a pitch and walked pinch-hitter Taylor Motter.
Montgomery (2-3) lost for the second straight night. It marked the first time in his career he was on the mound for a walk-off loss.
Cruz’s home run followed a leadoff single by Robinson Cano, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead against Rays starter Drew Smyly.
“Getting the guy in from third has been an issue the past few games with less than two outs, and those come back to haunt you,” said manager Scott Servais. “You’re not going to do it every time, but the league average is about 50 percent and it seems like we’ve been well below that recently. In those situations we just didn’t get it done.”
Five days after being bumped from the starting rotation, Matt Andriese (6-0) pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings to get the win for Tampa Bay, which has won nine of 11.
“Fortunately for us, him being down there won us a ballgame,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Smyly struck out a career-high 12 in 6 2/3 inning while giving up two runs on four hits. After giving up the home run to Cruz, the left-hander did not give up another hit and struck out six of the 11 batters he faced.
“I was happy to keep our team in it, but the story’s the bullpen,” Smyly said. “They held them scoreless for eight innings.”
Corey Dickerson drove in the Rays’ first two runs with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a two-out single in the sixth that tied it, 2-2. Dickerson has 10 of his 31 RBIs in five games against Seattle.
Seattle starter Nathan Karns, who was acquired in a winter trade from the Rays, struck out eight in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits.
PINCH HITTING FOR LONGORIA . . .
Motter was pinch hitting in the 13th for Evan Longoria, who left the game with tightness in his left forearm after a check swing in the 11th. “It’s something I’ve been dealing with, just sore,” said Longoria, who doubled and walked twice. “It’s a day-to-day thing.”
Mariners: After leaving Tuesday night’s game in the fourth inning with a strained tendon in his right foot, RHP Taijuan Walker is hopeful of not skipping his turn in the rotation. “He feels like it’s not going to be a big issue, and he’s on some medicine to kind of calm it down,” reported Servais.
Rays: Cash said it should be known in the next day or two if RF Steven Souza Jr. (sore left hip) will need to go on the disabled list. “A little sore today,” Souza said. “I don’t have a whole lot (of news) right now.”
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (0-2) will make his fourth start of the season in the series finale.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell is “definitely excited, jittery” about facing the Mariners in his Tropicana Field debut. Snell, who got no decision in his major league debut in New York on April 23, was born and raised in the Seattle area.