Robinson Cano drove in two runs with singles and Roenis Elias gave up one run in six innings as the Mariners opened a three-game series Monday night at Tropicana Field with a 3-1 win (box score) over AL East-leading Tampa Bay (24-22). Cano had his first multi-RBI game since April 21, driving home Seth Smith in the first inning and again in the eighth. The Mariners (21-23) have won 10 of their past 16 games.
The Mariners jumped on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi with two runs in the first for a wire-to-wire win. Leadoff hitter Smith was safe on an error by SS Tim Beckham. LF Brad Miller walked. Cano singled to score Smith and DH Nelson Cruz singled to score Miller.
Cano went 50 plate appearances without an RBI before his first-inning single. In that time he had eight hits (one for extra bases). It was his first RBI since May 12. 3B Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double. In the ninth, C Mike Zunino waited nine pitches for a 3-2 slider that he turned into an upper-deck home run, his sixth. Smith had back-to-back doubles.
Elias’ shutout ended with the first batter in the sixth when 2B Logan Forsythe homered. In six innings that had 93 pitches (64 strikes), Elias gave up eight hits and three walks. Relievers Mark Lowe, Carson Smith and Fernando Rodney pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on Cano: “A real nice outing for Robbie. His bat speed is back. Nothing like positive results. You know he’s going to hit; we’re just waiting on when.”
McClendon on Elias: “That’s his sixth quality start in a row. It wasn’t quite as good as last time, but pretty darn close.”
After the game, reliever Danny Farquhar was sent to AAA Tacoma to make room for CF Austin Jackson, who has been rehabbing in Tacoma. He will arrive in time to play Tuesday in Tampa. The Mariners will operate for now with a six-man bullpen, but Farquhar has given up seven runs on 4.2 innings on this trip . . . Cano told MLB.com before the game that his long slump was a puzzle. “I don’t know — I feel good,” he said. “I’m swinging at good balls. I think it’s just more just missing my pitches, pitches right down the middle that I’ve been hitting for foul balls. There’s no excuses for that. I’m just struggling. But anybody going through that has to stay positive.” . . . Seattle has the best Memorial Day record in the majors since the franchise’s inception in 1977 — 24-12 all-time.
The Mariners send LHP J.A. Happ (3-1, .361 ERA) to the mound Tuesday at the Trop against RHP Alex Colome (3-1, 4,81) in the series’ second game. After Felix Hernandez goes Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT, the Mariners make the long flight home to begin an 11-game homestand Thursday against Cleveland.