CRUZ, ZUNINO LEAD OFFENSE AS M’S CONTINUE RAYS’ MISERY
What happened: Nelson Cruz went 3 for 5 with a homer, estimated at 482 feet, and a pair of doubles and the Seattle Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 on Friday in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tampa Bay is 2-9 in its last 11 games.
Mike Zunino added two doubles and with two RBIs, and Kyle Seager drove in his 500th career run, the 10th Mariner in history to achieve the feat.
M’s starter Erasmo Ramirez turned in six strong innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts. James Pazos added 2 1/3 shutout relief innings with five Ks and Emilio Pagan finished things up in the ninth.
- M’s got to Rays starter Austin Pruitt right off the bat. With one down, Yonder Alonso walked and went to second on a Robinson Cano single. Nelson Cruz then lashed a double to center to plate Alonso. Kyle Seager’s groundout brought home Cano, and Cruz scored on Danny Valencia’s infield single to third.
- In the fourth, Ben Gamel walked with one down and went to third on Guillermo Heredia’s double to left that tipped out of the leaping Chris Dickerson’s glove. Mike Zunino followed with a booming double off the wall in right center to score both runners.
- Cruz smacked another double in the fifth, went to third on Valencia’s single and scored on a single off first baseman Lucas Duda’s glove by Gamel.
- Cruz added an insurance run in the ninth with a mammoth home run to the upper deck in left, his 30th of the season.
The Rays entered play a wounded animal at 2-8 in their last 10 games and the M’s added to their misery. Zunino had a nice day with a pair of doubles, especially the two-run shot to right center in the fourth to bust it open a bit.
Tweet of the Day
Players of the Game
Hero: Nelson Cruz. The road warrior continues his march.
Goat: No goat? No goat!
Seattle Mariners (62-61) at Tampa Bay Rays (60-64) at 3:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. LHP Ariel Miranda (7-6, 4.75) and Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 4.30).
What others are saying (and writing)
Ramirez was oddly sharp last night in Tampa, though there probably isn’t anything odd about it. Pitching against your old team, the team that traded you midseason, has to have some motivating power. … Cruz’s missile to left field may still be on the way up. It was the longest home run in Tropicana Field history. “Cool,” Cruz told the media afterward. “Do they give me a prize for that?” … It looks as if David Phelps will be back in the bullpen soon. … Tampa is collapsing down the stretch.