Ibanez’s home run beats Rays in ninth
SEATTLE -- Raul Ibanez lined a pitch from Dan Wheeler inside the right-field foul pole in the ninth inning, Seattle’s first game-ending home run in its lost season, and the Mariners beat the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, on Thursday night.
The fourth walk-off home run of Ibanez’s career prompted a wild, on-field celebration by the team with the AL’s worst record. On-deck batter Adrian Beltre threw his batting helmet into the air the moment the ball left the bat of Ibanez, who has 16 runs batted in in his last five games.
Tampa Bay began a 10-game trip by losing for only the second time in nine games, trimming its division lead to 2 1/2 games over idle Boston.
The Rays dropped to 23-29 on the road, where 29 of their final 48 games will be played. The Rays are 45-17 at home. That’s the largest differential between home and road success in the majors.
J.J. Putz (5-4) escaped trouble in the ninth, and Felix Hernandez gave up four hits and one run in eight innings for Seattle.