Six in a row was even more painful when considering who started for the Rays. Former Seattle pitcher Erasmo Ramirez was the latest starter to keep the Mariners helpless, 2-1 (box score) Thursday night at Safeco Field.
The Mariners had Tampa Bay right where they wanted. In the ninth, a perfect sacrifice bunt from Dustin Ackley set up Robinson Cano at the plate with a runner on second. But Cano’s game-ending strikeout was just another example of what went wrong, when Seattle went 1 for 11 (six strikeouts) with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
Don’t blame Roenis Elias for this one. The southpaw starter turned in another solid performance, only to suffer the tough-luck loss. Elias allowed five hits and two earned runs over eight innings.
Nice to see Ramirez putting up zeroes at Safeco Field, huh? Kidding, of course. The ex-Mariner had way more success against Seattle bats than he ever did when they were on his side. The Mark Trumbo addition looked pretty good in his first at-bat, a leadoff single in the second, and he went 2 for 4 in his Mariners debut. But we’ve learned by now that adding a big bat to the Seattle lineup only goes so far.
Ramirez: “It was kind of weird. It’s the first time in my life (pitching against the Mariners). They know me, I know them, and they’re the kind of team that can hit everybody. I just tried to make sure the ball was where the catcher was calling it and let the guys play defense.”
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon: “I believe, truly, that we’re going axore a lot of runs. Tonight was just one of those nights that leaves you scratching your head.”
OF Justin Ruggiano was the odd man out after the Mark Trumbo deal. He was designated for assignment before the game, when the Mariners also recalled C Jesus Sucre . . . Trumbo and LHP Vidal Nuno were in uniform Thursday. Trumbo, slated as Seattle’s DH but moved to first base an hour before the game because 1B Logan Morrison was scratched with back spasms, batted fifth . . . Ramirez spent his first seven professional seasons in the Mariners organization. He saw time with Seattle in each of the past three years and was at spring training with the Mariners before being traded for LHP Mike Montgomery March 31 . . . Former Mariner 2B Nick Franklin, who is hitting .091 over 12 games, is also with the Rays this season. He was involved in the trade that sent David Price from Tampa to Kansas City, with the Mariners getting CF Austin Jackson in the deadline deal last July.
LHP J.A. Happ hasn’t been strapped with a loss since April 17, and the Mariners hope that streak continues Friday night. Happ (3-1, 3.70 ERA) goes against Tampa RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 2.61 ERA). The Rays’ 25-year-old starter has a career ERA of 0.69 in two starts against Seattle.