St. Petersburg, FL – Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run homer and Desmond Jennings had a two-run triple in the second inning Thursday afternoon and the Tampa Bay Rays held on for a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners to sweep a four-game series.
The Rays have won 11 of their last 12 games overall and eight straight against the Mariners.
Jeff Niemann (2-3) picked up the win despite allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings, while Fernando Rodney worked around an error in the ninth inning to get his ninth save.
Kevin Millwood (0-3) dropped his third straight start for Seattle after giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
The Mariners lost six in a row to finish 4-6 on a 10-game road trip.
"Tough ball games. Tough losses," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "We're just not doing enough to take back innings and get leads back."
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the second inning sparked by Kyle Seager's leadoff walk and John Jaso's double. Seager scored on Mike Carp's ground out and Jaso came home on Justin Smoak's single.
But the Rays went ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the inning with a two-out rally.
Keppinger homered to left field to score Will Rhymes, who had singled, and Chris Gimenez and Sean Rodriguez followed with back-to-back hits. Jennings knocked both runners in with a triple past Ichiro Suzuki in right field.
"Keppinger's homer was big, obviously, in that moment," remarked Rays manager Joe Maddon. "That got us going in the right direction."
Dustin Ackley and Suzuki hit back-to-back doubles in the fifth inning to get the Mariners within 4-3. Ackley scored on Suzuki's hit down the line and into the right field corner.
Carp reached on Rodriguez's error at third base leading off the ninth inning but was retired on a double play ground ball by Michael Saunders to end the game.
The Rays will continue a seven-game homestand Friday with the opener of a weekend series against Oakland...The Mariners will open a six-game homestand Friday against the Twins.