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.
Solid win against the AL East leader, though I believe the M’s are for the Rays what the Astros are for the M’s. Nice to see the Rays at the top of the AL East when many pundits picked them to finish last. I’d love to see them take the division.
Elias continues to make Bill Krueger look like a genius. Krueger believes Elias is the best left hander in the AL and with how he’s pitching no one can argue that. I used to think the M’s would need another SP to compete in the playoffs and they still might but if the rotation is Felix, Kuma, Happ, Elias and Paxton with Walker coming out of the pen I have no issues with that. I think an Ichiro-type of leadoff hitter would be better served instead.
Ichiro didn’t want to walk. Jackson doesn’t hit. I’m sticking with Seth Smith.
You got that right! Seth Smith is a better hitter with home run power,
more than Jackson. If it were my lineup, and it is not, I would not have ANY outfielder, first or third baseman playing for me that could not average 20 plus homers per 600 at bats. Jackson was only a run scorer for Detroit and that was because he had some of the best bats in baseball driving him in.