Forsythe's ninth-inning HR lifts Rays 1-0 over Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) Logan Forsythe said what makes a difference in a close game can be just one pitch. Or one swing.
Forsythe found the pitch he wanted and put a mighty swing on it in the ninth inning, stroking a home run off struggling Seattle Mariners closer Fernando Rodney to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 victory Friday.
Rodney (2-3) threw an inside fastball on a 2-1 count to Forsythe, who lifted it over the left-field wall for his seventh home run.
Rodney has allowed a run in nine of 13 appearances since May 1.
''Those games sometimes come down to one swing,'' Forsythe said. ''I was able to get the barrel to it. It worked out.''
The Mariners have lost seven straight, all during this homestand, and have been outscored 28-13, leaving 62 runners on base. They are hitting just .159 (10 of 63) with runners in scoring position.
Seattle's ineffective offense was no more apparent than in the bottom of the ninth after Austin Jackson led off with a triple to right off Kevin Jepsen. Right-fielder Steven Souza Jr. made a desperate dive for it, but it rolled to the wall.
''I was pretty close. Just a little more out of my reach,'' Souza said. ''We back each other up, but that ball took a weird hop afterward.''
Jepsen then struck out Brad Miller.
''You're definitely going for the strikeout there,'' Jepsen said. ''You just have to leave it out there, everything. In that situation everything has to go right not to let that run score.
In a nine-pitch at-bat, Jepsen got Mike Zunino to pop foul to right. Dustin Ackley then flied out to left, to the accompaniment of a loud cascade of boos.
''I'm still scratching my head. This is tough,'' Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We put ourselves in position time and time again to score runs. We just didn't get it done.''
Andrew Bellatti (2-0), who worked three innings, earned the victory. Jepsen secured his third save in five opportunities.
''I can't say enough about what Bellatti did,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''Comes in, provides us those three innings against a very good hitting team. He was pretty impressive.''
Unfortunately for Bellatti, the club intends to option him to Triple-A Durham and recall let-hander Enny Romero.
Seattle's Logan Morrison had a third-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. His career best is 13 straight last season.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi had to leave with one out in the fifth with a left side tightness. He allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out four.
''Just that last pitch. It just tightened up, grabbed me. That was it,'' Odorizzi said. ''You never felt something like that before. It's kind of startling. But it let go.''
Odorizzi said no MRI is scheduled: ''We (will) see how I'm feeling 24 hours from now.''
J.A. Happ started and went seven innings for the Mariners. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out six. He has had three wins and six no-decisions over his past nine starts.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore is getting closer to a return after 14 months since his Tommy John surgery. He'll have his second rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday for Class-A Charlotte (Florida State League). He's expected to throw 60-65 pitches. He'll likely have three more starts before the club decides if he's ready.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat) will throw off the mound Sunday, in the range of 35-40 pitches. He'll have another session Wednesday, then the club will assess if and where he'll go out on a rehab assignment. ... 1B Logan Morrison, who missed Thursday's game with back spasms - triggered in the batting cage before the game - was back in the lineup.
Rays: RHP Alex Colome (3-2, 5.05) did not get a fair shake over his two recent starts. He matches up against 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez on Saturday, and last Monday dueled with L.A. Angels ace Garrett Richards. He lost that matchup 7-3, allowing three home runs, but matched his season-high six innings. He has allowed seven home runs in 35 2-3 innings.
Mariners: RHP Hernandez (8-2, 2.63) is coming off is worst outing of the season. He gave up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings Monday in a 7-2 loss to the Yankees. In his previous start against the Ray on May 27 in Tampa, he had his season's best outing, a complete game 3-0 shutout. He allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out eight.
GETTING ON, GETTING IN
What shows up most alarmingly for the struggling Mariners offense this season is a woeful average - just .215 - with runners in scoring position. That prompted the club to trade with Arizona for slugger Mark Trumbo on Wednesday. ''We were 1 for 11 out there (Thursday in a 2-1 loss),'' manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We need somebody to drive them in, drive `em in from first. Better yet, drive them in from home. I'll take a three-run homer any day.''
BUTLER'S DOING IT
After seven-plus seasons toiling in the minor leagues, Rays OF Joey Butler is turning into an ''overnight'' success story. Since his promotion May 3, Butler is hitting .348 with six doubles, four home runs and 11 RBIs. ''We all knew that he was going to hit if given consistent at-bats,'' said Rays manager Kevin Cash, who was his teammate at Triple-A Round Rock in 2011. ''Now to put the pressure on to say he's going to continue to hit .350, I don't think that's fair, but we'll take it as long as it lasts.''