SEATTLE--Finally, something for the home crowd to celebrate.
Justin Smoak hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning, and Raul Ibanez hit a crucial home run for the second game in a row as the Seattle Mariners edged the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Friday to snap a six-game losing streak at Safeco Field.
Seattle was swept in its last homestand but started another in exciting fashion after blowing a lead earlier in the eighth.
The rally began when Kyle Seager hit a ball to deep left-center field that popped out of the glove of center fielder Desmond Jennings for a two-base error. Kendrys Morales followed with a walk, setting up the big hit one out later by Smoak.
The first baseman crushed a line drive to right field off Joel Peralta (2-6) that just eluded the diving effort of Wil Myers, scoring Seager and pinch-runner Abraham Almonte.
Closer Danny Farquhar made sure the advantage wasn't blown in the ninth, earning his 13th save in front of 14,796 fans.
The game's big hit looked like it was going to come from Ibanez, who extended Seattle's lead to 4-2 with a solo home-run to lead off the fourth inning. It was his 27th of the season, third most of any MLB player 41 years or older and just two shy of Ted Williams' record of 29 set in 1960.
The veteran outfielder had hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning Thursday, though the M's eventually lost 7-6 in Kansas City in 13 innings. Homers in back-to-back nights looks even more impressive considering Ibanez had one homer in a 35-game stretch from July 13 to Wednesday.
The Rays slowly come back, adding a run in the sixth inning, when Jose Molina singled to bring home Delmon Young after an international walk with two outs. That would be the last batter starter Hisashi Iwakuma would face, his shortest outing in seven starts as he was later denied his team-leading 13th win of the season.
The tying run came in the eighth when Oliver Perez allowed a leadoff walk and gave way to reliever Carter Capps, who quickly allowed a single to Myers.
Capps picked off pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez at second base and then got pinch-hitter David DeJesus to hit into a heart-stoppingly deep fly out to right field. The next pinch-hitter, Luke Scott, deflated the crowd when he smacked a double just out of reach of right fielder Michael Saunders, a defensive replacement for Ibanez, and that scored Myers from first.
Seattle, having lost four of its last five coming into the game, answered in the bottom of the inning. Capps earned the win to improve to 3-3.
The Rays' first hit came in the first inning, when Zobrist sharply smacked a single past Franklin at second base. A routine play, seemingly, but it ended an 0-for-31 streak for Tampa Bay in Seattle over three games.
Tampa's last visit was Aug. 15, 2012, when Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game.
And while Friday's win was far from perfect, the Mariners' first home win since Aug. 11 was still something to celebrate.
Notes: James Paxton, another of Seattle's touted young pitchers, will make his MLB debut Saturday as the Mariners' starter for the second game of the series. "I'm excited, excited to watch him," said manager Eric Wedge before Friday's game. "I know he's excited to pitch, as well he should be, but it's always fun to watch a debut, especially when it's a starting pitcher."
--Wedge said the next step in Hernandez' recovery from back cramps will be pitching off the mound after the ace felt good playing catch Thursday. Earlier this week, Hernandez' scheduled start Sunday was pushed to Wednesday.
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