ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Seattle Mariners finally held onto a lead and won their series finale at Tampa Bay.
Dae-Ho Lee drove in three runs, James Paxton went six effective innings and the Mariners avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Rays 6-4 on Thursday.
Seattle wasted a four-run lead in Tuesday’s 8-7 loss. The Mariners took a two-run advantage Wednesday before dropping a 3-2, 13-inning decision.
“Every game was tough to get through it, but we’re lucky to get out of here with a win today,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “There were no easy innings today.”
Lee had an RBI single in a three-run first and drove in two with a double during the fourth. He is tied for the team-lead with Robinson Cano with seven games of three or more RBIs this year.
Paxton (1-2) gave up three runs and seven hits. The left-hander had been winless in seven starts since a victory at Toronto on May 23 last year.
“Getting a win today was huge,” Paxton said. “We didn’t want to come out of this series being swept.”
Steve Cishek, the third Seattle reliever, pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.
Blake Snell, a 23-year-old Seattle native, was recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game and started for the Rays. Snell (0-1) allowed five runs — one earned — and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings in his first home big league start and second overall.
“I want to be aggressive in the strike zone, and I felt like I wasn’t,” Snell said. “I was trying to be too pretty. Something I can definitely learn from and get better.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash said Snell will make another start for the Rays next week in Cleveland.
After Lee singled with two outs in the first, another run scored when Rays shortstop Tim Beckham misplayed Kyle Seager’s grounder. A single by Chris Iannetta made it 3-0.
Ryan Garton, who replaced Snell with the bases loaded in the fourth, struck out Nelson Cruz for the second out. Lee followed with a two-run double that put Seattle up 5-2.
Seager hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth.
Brad Miller cut the Rays’ deficit to 5-4 on a two-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit, who then struck out Steve Pearce on a 3-2 pitch.
Pearce had three hits and is hitting. 514 (18 for his 35) this month.
Seattle had 17 baserunners though five innings but hit into three double plays over that stretch.
Pearce had an RBI single during a two-run third. Curt Casali drove in a run on a fourth-inning grounder.
Tampa Bay went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
“The big hit kind of eluded us,” Cash said.
Mariners: Servais said RHP Taijuan Walker (foot arch tendinitis) is still on track to make his next scheduled start Sunday at Boston. . CF Leonys Martin, who returned Friday from a strained left hamstring, was rested.
Rays: 3B Evan Longoria (left forearm soreness) didn’t play. . RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) will throw 15 fastballs Saturday in his first batting practice session. . RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) might return next week. . OF Brandon Guyer (strained left hamstring) will start running this weekend.
RF Steven Souza Jr., hurt diving for a ball Tuesday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hip. Snell took his roster spot. . Garton was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game. A corresponding move will be announced Friday.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-5), 0-1 with a 10.20 ERA in four starts against Boston, will go against Red Sox LHP Roenis Elias (0-0) Friday night.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (4-7) will face San Francisco RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-4) before a crowd that may be around 40,000 at Tropicana Field Friday night on Pride Night, which has been dedicated to the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando. The Rays put all open seats on sale Tuesday for $5 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Pulse Victims Fund. Seats normally covered in the upper deck will be used.
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