The game-winner, Seager’s 10th home run of the season, came off Brad Boxberger (2-2) after the Rays had rallied for three runs to tie the game in the ninth.
“It was a very emotional game, had its momentum turns for sure,” said Seager, who drove in six runs with three hits and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. “Everybody’s very excited, but it was a long one too so I think people are pretty tired as well.”
Seager’s eighth-inning slam off Jake McGee had given the Mariners a 6-3 lead.
Evan Longoria’s bases-loaded double off the top of the wall, his third hit of the game, drove in two of the ninth-inning runs for the Rays. The tying run scored when second baseman Robinson Cano’s threw wildly on what could have been a game-ending double play.
“I’ve been around a long time, but this is the first one for me in a lot of different respects. There were a lot of weird things in that ball game,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Sometimes it’s winning ugly but it’s a win. That’s all that counts. I guess that sums it up.”
The Rays’ fourth straight loss dropped them a half-game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
“Obviously when you come back like that, you get frustrated when you put yourself in a position to win,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “But there were plenty of other things to get frustrated about. We got beat with our best guys out on the mound.”
Fernando Rodney (2-2) got the win after giving up the three runs in the ninth. Joe Beimel pitched the 10th for his first save.
McGee gave up the grand slam on the first pitch after former Mariner Nick Franklin’s error on a potential double-play ball.
Jake Elmore drove in four runs for Tampa Bay.
Rays starter Alex Colome gave up two runs and four hits in a 38-pitch first inning in which he contributed one of the Rays’ three defensive misplays.
Austin Jackson, Seth Smith and Cano opened the game with singles, marking the third straight game the Rays have fallen behind before getting an out. Seager followed with a one-out bouncer which Colome fielded, but threw low to the plate, allowing Smith to score. The play was scored a single, Seattle’s fourth hit of the inning.
Elmore tied it with a bases-loaded, two-out single in the first off J.A. Happ.
The first inning took 45 minutes, including a 2-minute, 57-second review of the play at the plate.
Happ, who is 3-0 in his last seven starts, pitched six innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.
Nelson Cruz had two hits including a 10th-inning single, the 1,000th hit of his career. Cruz was caught stealing just before Seager’s second home run.
Mariners: Jackson returned to the lineup after a nine-game rehab assignment. He sprained his right ankle on May 3, missing 19 games.
Rays: OF-DH John Jaso, who injured his left wrist in the first inning on opening day, remains unable to resume baseball activity. “He’ll do something and then the next day, the soreness will kind of come back in,” Cash said.
Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (7-1, 2.19) will oppose Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer (5-4, 2.40) in the final game of the three-games series. Hernandez is 5-2 in 14 career starts against the Rays, but is 0-2 at Tropicana Field.
Asked if Jackson has been improving as a leadoff hitter, McClendon remarked: “Take a look at his track record. He scores 100 runs, he accounts for 140 or 150 runs a year. That’s pretty good. People make this big deal about Austin Jackson leading off for the Seattle Mariners. Give me somebody else! Give me Rickey Henderson, I’ll put him there. It’s just that simple. Austin Jackson’s pretty good. He’s no slouch.”