Tom Murphy is on a power surge unprecedented for a Seattle catcher, and it is coming at a bad time for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Murphy, who was briefly with the Giants in spring training, hit a tie-breaking homer, his sixth in the past four games, in the sixth inning Tuesday night to lift the visiting Mariners to a 7-4 win over the Rays.
The Rays are now tied with the A’s for the AL’s second wild card after Oakland beat the Yankees 6-2.
Murphy’s 16th homer of the season came off Jalen Beeks (5-3) after a walk to Kyle Seager. Murphy became the first Mariners catcher to homer in four straight games. He said it is a matter of “staying within the strike zone,” like he did for two months in Triple-A back in 2016.
“I can see it like it was yesterday,” Murphy said. “It was the best I’ve ever hit in my life, that’s for sure. … I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head, but it feels like everything I hit was hard hit.”
Tampa Bay has dropped to 33-31 at home by losing three of five games to last-place teams.
“We’ve been in a rut here for a little while. To be honest, it’s been a grind here since we’ve gotten back home,” said Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said, “I think it all stems from our offense. We just don’t have a lot of guys locked in right now, to be quite honest.”
Mets 9, Indians 2: Michael Conforto hit a tie-breaking homer moments after an embarrassing error by Cleveland left fielder Oscar Mercado, and host New York rolled from there.
Phillies 3, Red Sox 2: Aaron Nola pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to win for the sixth time in his past seven decisions for visiting Philadelphia.
Braves 5, Marlins 1: Freddie Freeman homered twice and drove in four runs, Dallas Keuchel kept working out of trouble and host Atlanta defeated Miami.
Pirates 4, Nationals 1: Starling Marte hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the eighth inning for host Pittsburgh.
Cardinals 9, Brewers 4: Dexter Fowler hit a bases-loaded double and drove in four runs as host St. Louis dropped Milwaukee further back in the NL Central.
Twins 14, White Sox 4: In Minneapolis, Nelson Cruz homered and drove in three runs on four hits in his second game back from a wrist injury, yet another powerful performance at the plate by the 39-year-old designated hitter as Minnesota beat Chicago.
Astros 6, Tigers 3: George Springer, Jose Altuve and Martin Maldonado homered to lead host Houston past Detroit, but the Astros’ win was marred by news that shortstop Carlos Correa (back discomfort) and starter Aaron Sanchez (chest muscle soreness) are both heading to the injured list.
Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 7: Jake Lamb and Eduardo Escobar each drove in two runs in a five-run sixth inning as host Arizona defeated Colorado. Trevor Story had a four-hit night with three RBIs for the Rockies.
Orioles 4, Royals 1: Hanser Alberto hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the eighth inning, and host Baltimore ended an eight-game losing streak.
Reds 3, Padres 2: Freddy Galvis hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the sixth inning, and Aristides Aquino added an RBI single as host Cincinnati beat San Diego.
Angels, Rangers split: Delino DeShields raced home from second base with the winning run in the 11th inning, giving host Texas a 3-2 win and a doubleheader split with Los Angeles after an error by first baseman Albert Pujols. In the opener, Andrew Heaney had a career-high 14 strikeouts in eight innings and Mike Trout hit his career-best 42nd homer in the Angels’ 5-1 win.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Rays-fall-to-Mariners-and-are-now-tied-with-A-s-14365575.php.