SEATTLE (AP) — Erasmo Ramirez doesn’t usually have to be on top of his game to earn a win.
On Sunday, Ramirez was at his best, but it still didn’t matter
The young right-hander gave the Mariners a nearly spotless performance, but it was not enough as the Tampa Bay Rays came from behind for a 4-1 win over Seattle.
Ramirez entered the contest with just over six runs of support per game, the highest among all Mariners starters this season. He made do with just one run into the seventh inning Sunday, but the bullpen couldn’t preserve the stellar start as the Rays scored three times in the eighth off reliever Yoervis Medina (4-5).
After the combination of Ramirez and reliever Charlie Furbush delivered a 1-0 lead to the back end of the Seattle bullpen, Tampa Bay scored three times in the eighth.
Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch from Medina to start the frame and Luke Scott walked. James Loney followed with a tying double that landed just inside the right-field line.
Sean Rodriguez, hitting for Matt Joyce, stepped into the box and singled sharply up the middle off new reliever Oliver Perez to score Scott. Loney also came home when center fielder Abraham Almonte bobbled the ball for an error.
The loss spoiled what would have been Ramirez’s sixth win of the season. The righty scattered four hits and worked around four walks before he was lifted after the first two runners reached in the seventh. After issuing a walk, Furbush escaped a bases-loaded situation unscathed with a double play and fly out.
“I thought Erasmo was good,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “I loved his aggressiveness early in the game and he was able to hang on to it and sustain it.”
Kendrys Morales led off the Seattle second with his 20th homer of the season and 99th of his career. It was just one of five hits the Mariners were able to record.
Seattle was 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Brad Miller accounted for two hits, singling in his first two at-bats. Miller’s 53 hits are good for second most among rookies since the All-Star break.
The Rays desperately needed the win, as they now head back to Tampa Bay after a miserable 3-7 West Coast swing. The Rays lead Baltimore and Cleveland, who both lost, by two games for the second AL wild-card spot.
“The thing is, everybody goes through bad moments,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Everybody does. Every team out there’s gone through bad moments this year. Ours is just occurring right now. A lot of it is it’s a tough trip. It’s a tough trip.
Rays starter Matt Moore got a no-decision despite tossing 6 1-3 innings of one-run ball. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three.
Moore hasn’t lost since June 14, a span of nine decisions.
“Had really good fastball velocity, I thought he maintained it pretty much the entire gamem,” Maddon said. “Curveball and changeup were there, but I think he actually pitched with his fastball well today.”
Jake McGee (4-3) got two outs and the win. Fernando Rodney closed for his 33rd save in 41 chances.
The Rays picked up an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double by Desmond Jennings, but still left the bases loaded. Tampa Bay also squandered a chance with the bags full in the seventh, as pinch-hitter Delmon Young grounded into a double play and Ben Zobrist flew out to end the frame without putting a run on the board.
NOTES: Rays SS Yunel Escobar did not start for the first time since July 21. He pinch-hit in the eighth. Maddon said Sunday’s pitching matchup gave him a good excuse to sit Escobar, who he wants to keep from completely wearing down by the end of the season. … Seattle 2B Nick Franklin was not in the lineup on Sunday, a day after taking a knee to the head while attempting to field a fly ball. Wedge said the decision was not entirely based on Saturday’s collision, though, and Franklin is fine. Franklin struck out pinch-hitting in the ninth.
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