SEATTLE (AP) — Brandon Lowe hit two solo homers off Seattle starter Marco Gonzales for the seventh multi-homer game of his career, Manuel Margot hit his first grand slam, and the Tampa Bay Rays won their sixth straight, beating the Mariners 8-2 on Saturday night.
Lowe hit the second pitch of the fourth inning to deep right-center field for his fourth homer of the season. He came back up with one out in the sixth and jumped on the first pitch from Gonzales, hitting it out to right field.
Lowe’s last multi-homer game came on Oct. 2, 2021, when he hit three long balls in a 12-2 win over the New York Yankees.
“That was really encouraging, good for Brandon,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “I know he likes hitting home runs. We like it when he hits home runs.”
Margot, who hit a game-winning, three-run homer in the ninth inning on Friday night, capped an eighth inning meltdown by Seattle reliever Diego Castillo. He hit the first pitch into the left-field bullpens. Castillo failed to record an out and allowed five earned runs.
“I’m just trying to have good at-bats, see the ball well and hopefully get good contact,” Margot said.
Seattle has lost six straight and 10 of 11.
“If we don’t control the strike zone, in this league, you’re going to have some tough nights. And that’s what we’re going through right now,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen stymied Seattle for five innings. The only run Rasmussen (3-1) allowed came after Julio Rodríguez tripled and scored on Adam Frazier’s two-out single in the fifth.
Rasmussen also pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, getting a short fly ball from Ty France and a ground out by J.P. Crawford to end the threat.
Rasmussen allowed five hits and struck out five. The native of Spokane, Washington, had a few dozen friends and family in attendance for the start.
“One of the cool things about coming home is the people, but also that can be a little bit of a distraction,” Rasmussen said. “So I tried to do my best to kind of have tunnel vision and then go out there and do my job and try and help the team win. So to have success was great.”
Abraham Toro hit a solo homer in the ninth for Seattle.
Gonzales (1-4) struggled with control, walking four and going deep into counts to several batters. Gonzales lasted 5 1/3 innings and threw 98 pitches. It was the sixth time in his his career that Gonzales walked four or more batters in a start.
“I fell behind in the count a couple times and just unfortunately couldn’t get myself back in at the right moment and from there it turned into a battle,” Gonzales said.
Tampa Bay optioned LHP Josh Fleming to Triple-A Durham and recalled right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. on Saturday. Fleming threw 2 2/3 innings and allowed four hits, two runs and walked three batters in Friday’s game against Seattle. It will be Garza’s second stint with the Rays this season after being claimed off waivers from Boston.
Cash also said LHP Jeffrey Springs will step into a starter’s role beginning Monday night against the Angels. He was uncertain whether an opener would be used.
Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi (elbow) took part in a full pregame workout and could be activated as early as Sunday. … Cash said several injured pitchers have upcoming bullpens or side session as they continue in their recovery, including RHP Nick Anderson (elbow), RHP Shane Baz (elbow), RHP Pete Fairbanks (lat strain), LHP Brendan McKay, LHP Luis Patino (oblique) and RHP Phoenix Sanders (back). Cash said RHP Chris Mazza is continuing to have issues with back spasms.
Mariners: Crawford left the game in the fifth inning due to back spasms. Crawford dove head-first into first base trying to beat out a grounder in the third inning. … C Tom Murphy was placed on the 10-day injured list after dislocating his left shoulder trying to make a sweep tag in Friday’s loss. Murphy had issues with the shoulder popping out in the past and will have an MRI to check for further damage.
Rays: Tampa Bay is expected to use an opener.
Mariners: Top prospect George Kirby will make his major league debut on Sunday. Kirby was Seattle’s’ first-round pick in 2019 and contended with Matt Brash for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training.
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