ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tom Murphy hit a tiebreaking homer, his sixth in the last four games, in the sixth inning to lift the Seattle Mariners to a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Murphy’s 16th homer of the season came off Jalen Beeks (5-3) after a walk to Kyle Seager. Murphy became the first Mariners catcher to homer in four straight games.
Tommy Milone (3-7) got the win after giving up four runs in five innings of relief, helping Seattle to its sixth victory in eight games. Matt Magill pitched the ninth for his second save in two tries.
The Rays began the day one game ahead of Oakland for the AL’s second wild card. The Athletics hosted the New York Yankees later.
Seager’s 17th home run off Rays opener Diego Castillo drove in Seattle’s first two runs. It was Seager’s eighth homer during a 14-game hitting streak, and he drove in another run with a double in the seventh.
Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier had back-to-back hits in the second inning and again in the fourth, helping Tampa Bay take a 4-2 lead off Milone.
Austin Nola’s two-out double brought the Mariners back to a 4-4 tie in the fifth.
Castillo and Seattle opener Matt Wisler pitched one inning each.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said two-way player Brendan McKay, optioned to Triple-A Durham after allowing seven runs over two innings in Monday’s 9-3 loss to Seattle, will likely be called back up around Sept. 1. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Brendan, he’s going to be really good for us,” Cash said. “He’s just hitting a little bit of a speed bump where he lost his way with his command.” The lefty was 1-3 with an 8.69 ERA in last his five starts after allowing a combined three runs over his first three big league outings.
MARINER PITCHING PLANS
The Mariners will call up 23-year-old LHP Justus Sheffield for his first major league start Friday night against Toronto. With RHP Felix Hernandez plugged back into the rotation Saturday, LHP Yusei Kikuchi will be bypassed this time around after pitching a shutout on Sunday. Manager Scott Servais explained that the plan to skip Kikuchi for one turn was made before his complete-game shutout against the Blue Jays.
Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez, who last pitched on May 11, will pitch Saturday night’s game against Toronto. Hernandez pitched in four rehab games after recovering from shoulder soreness. … OF Domingo Santana was placed on the injured list with right elbow inflammation.
Rays: AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (left elbow bone chip surgery) is throwing at around 90 feet on level ground. … OF Avisail Garcia (right oblique strain) ran the bases and could be back this weekend. … INF Brandon Lowe (right shin bruise) went 0 for 4 in his first rehab game at Triple-A Durham.
RHP Charlie Morton (13-5, 2.77) will pitch Wednesday for the Rays in the season series finale against a Mariners opener to be followed by LH Wade LeBlanc (6-7, 5.40). In his last three starts, Morton has struck out 29 and walked none.