ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A frustrating stretch for the Mariners -- nine losses in the last 12 games -- only got worse with a 13-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night, with the winning run coming on a bases-loaded walk after a long night for the Seattle bullpen.
With a quick turnaround for a 1:10 p.m. getaway game Thursday to close out the series with the Rays, the Mariners face a logistical challenge getting bullpen help from Salt Lake City, where their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma played Wednesday night.
The bullpen ultimately gave up the winning run for Seattle, but it also kept them in the game for two hours -- after starter Nathan Karns left after five innings, the next four pitchers combined for seven innings of scoreless, three-hit relief.
"I thought the bullpen was outstanding -- tremendous," manager Scott Servais said. "Nate Vincent, (Vidal) Nuno, they pitched through the right-left thing very effectively. (Steve) Cishek did a great job for us."
For the second game in a row, Mike Montgomery hurt the team with control issues. After opening Tuesday's outing with eight straight balls, he gave up a triple, hit a batter, walked another to load the bases and then had one more walk to end the game. In all, the Mariners had 11 walks, three of them intentional.
The Rays, on the other end of the spectrum, have won five of six games. Their bullpen was taxed as well, but they saw the bullpen debut of Matt Andriese, who had started in his first seven appearances of the season but shifted to a relief role to make room for rookie Blake Snell, who will be called up from Triple-A to make his second start of the season Thursday.
The Rays were able to turn to Andriese (6-0) for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief Wednesday, throwing 39 pitches with the ability to go much longer as necessary.
"He was outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That's a difficult conversation to have with Matt (moving to the bullpen), but understanding what's best for the team, Matt's a team guy. He understands that that's going to help us win games, and fortunately for us, him being down there won us a ball game."
If there's uncertainty for the Rays amid such a winning streak, it's the potential for another major injury. With outfielders Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Guyer and Steven Souza already sidelined with injuries, the Rays could be without star third baseman Evan Longoria, who had a tight forearm flare up in the 11th inning and was pinch-hit for in the 13th.
"He kinda swung and it really grabbed him," Cash said. "It flared up on him, became really sore over the next inning or two, so we felt that it was probably smart to get him out of there."
The pinch-hitter, rookie Taylor Motter, walked to keep the inning going, and while it led to a victory, the Rays can ill afford another major injury to their batting order.