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Seattle at Tampa Bay

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Seattle (79-72) «000120010450
Tampa Bay (77-74)010002000370

Mariners edge Rays, officially eliminate defending AL champs

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays will not get the chance for a second successive championship season.

Jose Lopez hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the Rays 4-3 on Tuesday night, eliminating the defending AL champions from the postseason.

  Playoff Race

"It's not the way we wanted this year to end," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "But, I like the way we're hanging together. I think we learned a lot this year in regard to it's not easy to repeat. You can never assume that it's just going to happen again because you were so good the previous year. It's very humbling. We'll be back next year."

Ichiro Suzuki had a two-run homer for the Mariners, who ended Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak.

Lopez gave Seattle a 4-3 lead on his 25th home run this season, coming off Dan Wheeler (4-5) with one out in the eighth.

"It's over with. You just go on and look forward to 2010," Wheeler said of the Rays, who are 77-74 this season.

Tampa Bay stunned baseball in 2008, posting its first-ever winning season (97-65) en route to the AL East title and a trip to the World Series.

"We had our opportunities and we let it slip away," Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford said. "Hopefully we learn from it and just comeback next year and compete."

Miguel Batista (7-4) struck out three over two perfect innings before Mark Lowe pitched the ninth for his third save.

"Batista was outstanding," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said.

B.J. Upton drove in two runs for Tampa Bay, which has won five of eight after an 11-game losing skid. Nine of the 14 losses during the 19-game stretch came in the eighth inning or later.

Seattle took a 3-1 lead on Suzuki's 11th home run of the season in the fifth. He moved into a tie with Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski for 248th place all-time with 2,016 hits.

Ryan Rowland-Smith was lifted with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth. Upton got Tampa Bay to 3-2 with a run-scoring single off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley. After pinch-hitter Crawford was retired on a pop foul, Jason Bartlett tied it on a sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Gabe Gross then struck out to end the inning.

Rowland-Smith allowed three runs, six hits and four walks in five-plus innings. Tampa Bay rookie Jeff Niemann failed in his fifth attempt to win his 13th game, giving up three runs, four hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings.

Upton put the Rays ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the second. Tampa Bay later loaded the bases with one out, but failed to increase its advantage when Gabe Kapler popped out and Evan Longoria flew out.

"We had so many opportunities to score more runs," Maddon said. "It really comes down to that. We applied a lot of pressure to the end of the game."

Seattle pulled even at 1 on Adrian Beltre's run-scoring single during the fourth. The Mariners are 32-17 in one-run games this year.

Notes

  • Seattle closer David Aardsma wasn't used because of back stiffness. He might be able to pitch on Wednesday.
  • Mariners C Kenji Johjima (sore left knee) was back in the lineup after missing one game.
  • Crawford and 2B Akinori Iwamura were both out of the lineup against the left-handed throwing Rowland-Smith.
  • Mariners 1B Russell Branyan (back) might take batting practice Tuesday. OF Ryan Langerhans (back) was not availble, while C Rob Johnson (left ankle) should play Thursday.
  • Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (16-5) is set to make three more starts this season, including Thursday and the final game of the regular season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Dan Wheeler knows the end is near after giving up the tiebreaking home run to Jose Lopez (rear).  (AP)
Dan Wheeler knows the end is near after giving up the tiebreaking home run to Jose Lopez (rear). (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Upton
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Seattle

I. Suzuki
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4112001 .354
Franklin Gutierrez, CF4120020 .280
Jose Lopez, 2B4111002 .268
Ken Griffey Jr., DH2000201 .218
Adrian Beltre, 3B3011102 .260
Bill Hall, LF3000122 .205
Kenji Johjima, C4000021 .246
Mike Carp, 1B2100100 .262
    Jack Hannahan, 1B0000000 .214
Josh Wilson, SS3000112 .192
Totals2945467  
Batting
HR - Ichiro Suzuki (11, Niemann), Jose Lopez (25, Wheeler)
RBI - Ichiro Suzuki 2 (45), Jose Lopez (92), Adrian Beltre (41)
2-OUT RBI - Ichiro Suzuki 2 (25), Adrian Beltre (12)
SB - Franklin Gutierrez (15, 2nd base off Niemann/Navarro)
Team LOB - 5
Seattle Mariners
Ryan Rowland-Smith 5633410 3.70
Shawn Kelley (BS,4) 1100010 4.64
Miguel Batista (W,7-4) 2000030 4.28
Mark Lowe (S,3) 1000110 2.82
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Rowland-Smith 113-68, Shawn Kelley 14-11, Miguel Batista 19-14, Mark Lowe 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Rowland-Smith 8-6, Miguel Batista 2-1
Batters Faced - Ryan Rowland-Smith 25, Shawn Kelley 4, Miguel Batista 6, Mark Lowe 4
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS4011001 .322
Gabe Kapler, RF3000013 .234
   a- Gabe Gross, PH-RF2000013 .239
Evan Longoria, 3B5010024 .281
Ben Zobrist, 2B2000210 .287
Pat Burrell, DH3100113 .230
Willy Aybar, 1B4220001 .253
Dioner Navarro, C1000101 .222
   b- Gregg Zaun, PH-C1000000 .259
B.J. Upton, CF4022000 .235
Fernando Perez, LF2010000 .160
   c- Carl Crawford, PH-LF1000103 .307
Totals3237356  
a-struck out for Kapler in the 6th
b-grounded out for Navarro in the 8th
c-fouled out for Perez in the 6th
Batting
2B - Willy Aybar 2 (10, Rowland-Smith, Rowland-Smith)
SF - Jason Bartlett (4)
SH - Dioner Navarro (8)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (64), B.J. Upton 2 (45)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Longoria-Zobrist-Aybar, Longoria-Zobrist-Aybar, Zobrist-Aybar
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 6.2433451 3.81
Randy Choate 0.1000000 3.73
Dan Wheeler (L,4-5) 1111111 3.44
J.P. Howell 1000110 2.84
HBP - Carp (by Jeff Niemann)
WP - Jeff Niemann (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 108-63, Randy Choate 2-2, Dan Wheeler 17-9, J.P. Howell 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-8, Randy Choate 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 27, Randy Choate 1, Dan Wheeler 4, J.P. Howell 4
Game Information
Attendance - 12514
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Damien Beal, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman