The Mariners took a 7-4 lead into the bottom seventh after an effective, but injury-marred, start by Taijuan Walker. But Nick Vincent and Mike Montgomery gagged it away in an 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night at Tropicana Field to start a 10-game, three-city road trip (box).
Manager Scott Servais pulled Walker after 3.1 innings when the righthander had what was initially described as an aggravated Achilles injury. Servais later clarified that Walker had a tendon injury in his lower left leg, but added that Walker was not expected to miss his next scheduled start.
“He’s got some tendinitis,” said Servais. “Right now, we’re hopeful he’ll make his next start. We’ll see what happens over the next couple of days. He tried to gut it out, but something wasn’t right.”
“I noticed it when I tried to push of while making a pitch,” Walker said.
Walker departed with a 5-3 lead. The Mariners increased it to 7-4, but Vincent and Montgomery donned dunce camps in a 30-minute seventh when they collaborated to allow four runs, aided by three walks.
Vincent allowed a single to No. 9 hitter Curt Casali and walked Brad Miller before Evan Longoria blasted a three-run homer to tie the game. Montgomery relieved Vincent and issued two walks, then gave up the game-winning single by Corey Dickerson that scored former Mariner Logan Morrison. A third loss in a row dropped Seattle to 34-30 and had its six-game winning streak at Tropicana Field snapped.
The Mariners accumulated 10 hits and had multi-hit performances from 2B Robinson Cano (2-for-5) and DH Nelson Cruz (3-for-5). Cano improved his batting average to .297 . . . Kyle Seager hit his 12th homer — Seattle’s 95th — in the second inning . . . Catcher Chris Iannetta drew three walks and scored once . . . Leonys Martin, who returned Friday from a hamstring injury, hit leadoff and had a two-run double in the second inning . . . The Mariners went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position, stranded eight and struck out 11 times.
Walker only made it through 3.1 innings before exiting. He allowed four runs on three hits, two of them homers. He fanned four and and walked one among his 65 pitches, 42 for strikes . . . Rookie Edwin Diaz replaced Walker and threw 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts and no walks. In his third MLB appearance, Diaz lowered his ERA to 1.69 and was in line for the win when he departed with a 7-4 lead . . . Montgomery worked a third of an inning and took the loss, falling to 2-2, 2.50.
“(Evan) Longoria went up there looking for a pitch to hit and he got it. We had a chance for a lot more runs tonight than we got. We should have scored in double digits, but it didn’t happen.” — Servais
The loss was Seattle’s second in 19 games this season when it scored seven or more runs . . . The Mariners are 7-3 against the AL East and 3-1 against the Rays . . . The Mariners lost for the fourth time in their past 14 games at Tropicana Field . . . The Mariners fell to 10-11 in the first game of a series this season. They are 12-6-3 in overall series, including 7-1-2 on the road . . . former Mariners Morrison went 0-for-3 and Miller 0-for-4.
The Mariners play the second of three against the Rays Tuesday with a first pitch at 4:10 p.m. PT. RHP Nathan Karns (5-2, 4.09) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Drew Smyly (2-7, 4.94).