SEATTLE — Lloyd McClendon didn’t want to get into a long explanation for the reasons behind his ejection, partly out of concern for his checkbook.
“You write what you saw,” the Seattle manager said. “If I tell it, I get fined.”
McClendon was ejected in the eighth inning of the Mariners 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday arguing a check swing strikeout called by first base umpire Lance Barksdale. It was his second ejection of the season but this one came with the added flair of McClendon twice throwing his hat, including into the stands as he left the field.
Clearly, McClendon was not happy about the call. Nor was he pleased with the little Seattle was able to get done at the plate against Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi.
“Our bats weren’t very good. There was a very favorable strike zone,” McClendon said. “It is what it is.”
Seattle was unable to solve Odorizzi, who threw six shutout innings and had a no-hitter going until James Jones singled with two outs in the sixth inning. The Mariners got only one other hit when Dustin Ackley doubled with one out in the eighth and that was followed by McClendon’s antics.
Ackley’s double off Joel Peralta provided Seattle its only scoring chance. John Buck then struck out when he was called out on a checked swing by Barksdale on a 3-2 pitch and McClendon erupted.
“That’s one of the reasons we all love playing for him here,” Buck said. “I was in starter mode so I felt like I couldn’t get thrown out there. He ran out there and wore one for me. That’s a players’ manager, for sure.”
Brandon Maurer (1-2) and the Seattle bullpen held the Rays to three hits. But Maurer was unable to make it out of the fourth when he lost command and the Rays scored both of their runs.
With a runner already on base, Maurer issued three straight two-out walks to Wil Myers, Brandon Jennings and the last to Yunel Escobar that forced in a run.
Reliever Dominic Leone almost immediately threw a wild pitch that scored Myers.
“He lost his command, really struggled, pitch count got up. Just a bad day all around,” McClendon said.
Odorizzi (2-3) picked up his first win since the opening week of the season, teaming with three relievers on a combined two-hitter. But the concern for Tampa Bay was the dislocated left thumb suffered by All-Star second baseman Ben Zobrist sliding headfirst into second base on a steal attempt in the fifth inning.
Zobrist’s injury isn’t considered serious. But the Rays are not sure whether he’ll end up on the disabled list or be able to play through the injury. Rays manager Joe Maddon said the club would likely make a decision on Thursday after seeing how the thumb responds.
The valuable all-purpose player jammed himself into the bag after being tagged out, walked off the field holding his hand and later had his thumb adjusted back into place. Zobrist said having the thumb put back in hurt more than jamming it originally.
X-rays to check if there was a fracture were negative.
“We’re getting different opinions. I think a lot of it has to do with how sore he is tomorrow, how swollen and sore,” Maddon said. “That could indicate DL. That could indicate maybe not.”
With the Rays bullpen rested after David Price’s complete game the night before, Maddon ended Odorizzi’s day after six innings. Jake McGee, Peralta and Grant Balfour combined to finish off the shutout. Balfour picked up his seventh save in eight chances working the ninth.
Rays won consecutive games for first time since May 1-2. … Seattle LHP James Paxton (back) threw a 52-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Paxton hopes to throw a simulated game this weekend on the road. … Seattle SS Brad Miller committed his seventh error. He had seven errors in 68 games at SS last season.