July 29, 2011 in Sports

Rays shut out Mariners

Associated Press

Jeff Niemann allowed three hits and struck out a career-high 11 in 6 2-3 innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays supported him with an eight-run second inning in a 8-0 victory over the host Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Niemann (5-4) gave up a two-out single to rookie Dustin Ackley in the first, and singles to Adam Kennedy and Chone Figgins in the seventh. He has won his past four decisions.

Ben Zobrist hit his 14th home run, a two-run shot in the second. Over the past nine games, Zobrist has 15 hits in his past 37 at-bats (.405).

Casey Kotchman had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run.

Mariners starter Erik Bedard (4-7), just off the disabled list (knee) and the subject of trade rumors, showed the effects of his 32-day layoff. He threw 57 pitches in just 1 1-3 innings and was tagged for five runs and three hits, walking four and striking out two.

The Mariners have lost 22 of their past 27 games, with a franchise-record 17 straight losses during that span. They are 5-19 in July with two games remaining. Their worst July in the franchise’s 34 seasons was last year at 6-22.

It’s the ninth shutout for the Rays this season and the ninth time the Mariners have been shut out.

The Rays sent 12 batters to the plate in the second. Bedard and Aaron Laffey combined to walk four in the inning and all four scored.

Bedard issued a bases-loaded walk and gave up a two-run single to Johnny Damon. Laffey yielded Zobrist’s two-run shot on a 2-1 pitch.

Kotchman had a single and double in the inning, scored twice and drove in a run. Kotchman, who hit .217 for the Mariners last season, is now hitting .329, third-best in the American League.

Five Mariners pitchers issued seven walks, matching the season high set July 20 against Toronto.

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