It took almost the entire season, but rookie right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez, who opened the season in the bullpen and spent much of the year in the minor leagues, finally earned his first big-league win Tuesday, pitching seven strong innings in Seattles 4-3 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Ramirez, temporarily taking over the spot in the rotation occupied by Blake Beavan, gave up six hits and two runs. He went through the final 14 batters allowing just one walk before turning over a 4-2 lead to the bullpen.
Seattle relievers, who allowed just two runs this month, gave up one score in the eighth, but closer Tom Wilhelmsen survived a two-out, man-on-second jam in the ninth for his 25th save as the Mariners rebounded after losing three consecutive games the past weekend to Oakland in Safeco Field.
“He did a great job with the fastball, manager Eric Wedge told the media after the game. “He mixed in his change-up and breaking ball. Thats a good-hitting ballclub over there.
Ramirez, who was briefly in the rotation in June before an elbow injury led to his return to Triple-A Tacoma, was recalled a week ago and threw a scoreless seventh inning in relief Friday against the As.
He was in the game in the seventh inning this time, too. An error by Franklin Gutierrez, his first in an American League-record 846 chances dating back to 2009, put Ramirez on the spot with a runner at second. But Wedge, noting that Ramirez had retired nine consecutive batters before the error, let him pitch, and the rookie responded by getting the needed three outs.
“I felt like he was still in control, Wedge said. “He bowed his neck.
Ramirez is being examined for a potential job in the Seattle rotation in 2013. He will get at least one more start this season, but not on this road trip. Beavan is scheduled to return to the rotation Sunday in Texas.
By the time Ramirez took the mound Tuesday, the 22-year-old had a 2-0 lead thanks to run-scoring singles from Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders. Seager later doubled and scored on a John Jaso single in the third and then hit a solo homer in the fifth.
He had two chances to get the needed triple for the cycle, but went hitless in his final two at-bats. Even so, he now has 81 RBIs, not only the best total on the roster, but the most for any Mariner since Jose Lopez had 96 in 2009.
The Mariners finished with 14 hits, which was a step up from the Seattle performance in the Oakland series. But Wedge would have like to have seen more run production.
Part of the problem was that Jaso was thrown out twice on the bases. On Saunders bases-loaded hit in the first, Jaso was out at the plate when he ran through a stop sign from third base coach Jeff Datz. In the third, again challenging the arm of left fielder Rajai Davis, Jaso was out trying to go from first to third on a Jesus Montero single.