SEATTLE (AP) — It had been a long time since Eric Wedge was able to enjoy a victory at home as manager of the Seattle Mariners.
Wedge missed a month of action after suffering a stroke in July. After returning to lead the team once again on August 23, the Mariners had yet to win at Safeco Field. They were held winless in a six-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers earlier this month.
Justin Smoak helped put an end to that streak Friday night as he drove in two runs on a double down the right field line off reliever Joel Peralta to lead the Mariners to a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was Wedge's first victory at home since July 21 when Seattle beat the Houston Astros 12-5.
"I've only been back a couple weeks and that first homestand wasn't all that thrilling," Wedge said. "It's been a hell of a long time for me to win here at home so it was good to be out there on the field."
The Rays had rallied to tie the score at 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning. A double from Luke Scott off Mariners reliever Carter Capps (3-3) scored Wil Myers from first base to even the game. Capps followed with walks to Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist before getting Evan Longoria to ground out and leave the bases loaded.
Kyle Seager hit a fly ball off Peralta (2-6) deep into the gap in left-center. Though Jennings got in position for the play, the ball caromed off the heel of his glove and fell to the turf allowing Seager to reach second base on the error. Kendrys Morales walked before Smoak's fly down the right field line just missed the glove of a diving Wil Myers. Seager and pinch runner Abraham Almonte scored to give the Mariners a 6-4 lead.
"I was praying it would get down," Smoak said. "Luckily it found some grass out there."
Danny Farquhar pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.
"How many tough losses have we had? How many games have we been in where we were a hit or a play or a pitch away? Tonight we were on the good side of it which was good to see," Wedge said.
Brad Miller doubled to lead off the game for Seattle and scored on a sacrifice fly by Seager to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
The Rays tied it in the second inning. Delmon Young crushed a solo home run off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma to left-center field.
Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria each singled with two outs in the third inning and Matt Joyce drew a walk to load the bases.