Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/7/13
Finally something for the home crowd to celebrate. Justin Smoak hit a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning and Raul Ibanez hit a crucial home run for the second night in a row as the Mariners edged the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Friday to snap a six-game losing streak at Safeco Field. Seattle was swept in its last homestand but started another in exciting fashion after blowing a lead earlier in the eighth. The rally began when Kyle Seager hit a ball to deep left-center field that popped out of the glove of a sprinting Desmond Jennings for a two-base error. Kendrys Morales followed with a walk setting up the big hit that would come one out later. Smoak crushed a line drive to right field off Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta (2-6) that just eluded the diving effort of Wil Myers scoring Seager and pinch-runner Abraham Almonte. “Those are the difference in those games” said manager Eric Wedge. “We’re in pretty much every game. You look at our losses this year and how many tough losses have we had? How many games have we been in where we were a hit or play or pitch away? Tonight we were on the good side which was good to see.” Off the bat Smoak feared Myers would be able to make the catch. “I was just praying it’d get down” he said. “Luckily it hit some grass out there.” Closer Danny Farquhar made sure the advantage wasn’t blown in the ninth earning his 13th save in front of 14796 fans. The game’s big hit looked like it was going to come from Ibanez who extended Seattle’s lead to 4-2 with a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. It was his 27th of the season third-most of any MLB player 41 years or older and just two shy of Ted Williams’ record of 29 set in 1960. Ibanez had hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning Thursday though the M’s lost 7-6 in Kansas City in 13 innings. Homers in back-to-back nights looks even more impressive considering the veteran outfielder had one home run in a 35-game stretch from July 13 to Wednesday. For Ibanez the home run was nice but the win was better. “To be able to come back and pick our guys up like that that’s really what team baseball is all about” he said.
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