ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Yandy Díaz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 7-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
Taylor Walls drew a two-out walk from Tayler Saucedo (3-2) before Díaz connected on his opposite-field drive to right.
“Feels like the moments of tension is when I kind of relax and focus a little bit more,” Díaz said through a translator.
Díaz also had a pinch-hit RBI double during a two-run seventh as Tampa Bay went up 5-4.
“I'm one of the guys that doesn't really like to come in late in the game,” Díaz said. “If I have the day off, I have the day off — but you've got to know over time being on this team, you've got to be ready at any moment.”
Díaz, who is hitting .318, had gone three straight games without a hit for just the second time this season,
The Rays hold a 7 1/2-game lead over Seattle and Toronto for the top AL wild card. Tampa Bay started the day four back of AL East-leading Baltimore, while the Mariners were a half-game behind first-place Houston in the AL West.
Colin Poche (11-3) pitched a perfect ninth to get the win.
Seattle slugger Julio Rodríguez hit his career-high 29th homer and is one short of joining Alex Rodriguez as the only Mariners to have 30 homers and 30 steals in the same season. The center fielder would also become the fourth player under 23 to accomplish the feat, joining A-Rod, Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr.
Rodríguez finished with two hits for his AL-leading 50th multi-hit game.
Tampa Bay third baseman Isaac Paredes left after the fourth with a bruised right hand after being hit by a pitch from Luke Weaver. Paredes is Tampa Bay's leader with 29 homers.
X-rays were negative, but Rays manager Kevin Cash said Paredes will likely miss Sunday's game.
“Everything came out good,” Paredes said through a translator. “Do treatment at the house and see how I wake up tomorrow.”
Seattle went with a bullpen day to give its starters extra rest.
“I give our guys a ton of credit,” manager Scott Servais said. “We really played hard today. We did. We were up against it a little bit, leaning on our bullpen.”
Brandon Lowe had a two-run double in the fifth for the Rays.
Seattle pulled even at 5 in the eighth when Eugenio Suárez reached on an error and later scored on Robert Stephenson's wild pitch.
Rodríguez put the Mariners up 4-1 on his second-inning drive off Aaron Civale that struck an overhanging catwalk. Ty France drove in a pair with a single in Seattle's three-run first.
Civale allowed four runs and four hits over five innings. Acquired from Cleveland on July 31, the right-hander has gone 5 1/3 innings or fewer in six of seven starts with Tampa Bay.
Seattle's Teoscar Hernández went 0 for 3, ending his career-best hitting streak at 17 games.
NIFTY GRAB DOESN’T COUNT
Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena caught Rodríguez’s homer off the catwalk, but it's an automatic home run when a ball hits the structure, according to Tropicana Field ground rules.
Mariners: Rookie RHP Bryan Woo is being given some extra rest and had his scheduled start Saturday moved to Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Rays: RHP Shane Baz (Tommy John surgery) had his second bullpen session and hopes to throw batting practice by the end of the month. … RHP Jason Adam (left oblique strain) is playing catch and might be back before the season ends.
Rays RHP Zach Eflin (13-8) tries to tie Toronto’s Chris Bassitt and Baltimore’s Kyle Gibson for the AL lead in wins when he faces Seattle on Sunday. New York Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (13-4) also will be vying for his 14th win Sunday against Milwaukee.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB