ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- Brendan McKay's struggles on the mound continued Monday, as The Seattle Mariners touched him up for seven runs in just two innings, as Tampa Bay dropped the first of this three-game series by a 9-3 score at Tropicana Field.
Tom Murphy started the scoring in the top of the first inning, hitting his first of two home runs in the game, taking McKay deep after J.P. Crawford and Austin Nola each reached on walks.
Tampa Bay got one run back against Marco Gonzales, as Tommy Pham led off the bottom of the first inning with a blast off the D-ring catwalk, his 18th home run of the season.
But Seattle countered with four unearned runs in the second against McKay thanks to a pair of errors by Willy Adames and Eric Sogard. Mallex Smith reached on Adames' throwing error, and after a walk to Keon Broxton, Dee Grodon's fielder's choice grounder, coupled with Sogard's fielding error, allowed Smith to score and make it 4-0. An RBI single two batters later by Crawford allowed Gordon to score for a 5-0 lead, and Nola followed with a two-run homer that would for all purposes end McKay's night, as he would exit after getting the final out of the second.
An RBI single by Nola in the fourth against Chaz Roe and a solo home run by Murphy off Oliver Drake in the fifth pushed Seattle's lead to 9-1.
Austin Meadows cut the deficit back to 9-3 in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-run homer off Gonzales, but Tampa Bay could get no closer.
The loss allows the idle Oakland Athletics to gain one half game on the Rays, as Tampa Bay is now just one game up in the race for the second wild card.
After the game, McKay was optioned to Triple-A Durham, with left-hander Hoby Milner being selected from Triple-A.