ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit two doubles and his 30th home run Friday night and Erasmo Ramirez won his first game for the Seattle Mariners since April 1, 2014, a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cruz’s home run was measured by MLB Statcast at 482 feet, the longest in Tropicana Field history.
Ramirez (5-4), who was traded back to the Mariners on July 28 after pitching 2 1/2 seasons with the Rays, gave up one run and two hits in six innings in the first game of the Mariners’ 12-game trip.
Hits by Robinson Cano, Cruz, Danny Valencia and Ben Gamel helped the Mariners score three runs in the first off Rays starter Austin Pruitt.
Back-to-back doubles by Guillermo Heredia and Mike Zunino and a single by Jean Segura brought in two more runs and made it 5-0 in the third.
Cruz’s solo home run off reliever Brad Boxberger drove in Seattle’s final run in the ninth.
Pruitt (6-4) gave up six runs and 11 hits in seven innings, throwing 107 pitches in his sixth major league start.
Kevin Kiermaier, playing for the first time since fracturing his hip on June 8, led off the sixth with a double off Ramirez and scored Tampa Bay’s run on a ground ball.
Wilson Ramos had three hits for the Rays, who lost for the seventh time in eight games and fell four games below .500 (60-64) for the first time this season.
KIERMAIER RETURNS IN LEADOFF SPOT
Kiermaier, back in the Rays’ lineup for the first time in more than two months, led off because somebody had to. “Why wouldn’t he be the best option?” asked manager Kevin Cash. “We’ve tried some other guys up there, it just has not clicked for whatever reason.” The Rays center fielder missed 62 games.
MARINERS: 3B Kyle Seager lost about 12 pounds while missing two games with a stomach virus, and “he still looks pretty thin,” according to manager Scott Servais. … OF Jarrod Dyson (strained groin) said he felt better Friday, but Servais wanted to give him another day off. … OF Guillermo Heredia was in the lineup after negative X-rays on a forearm that got hit by a pitch.
RAYS: RHP Matt Andriese (stress reaction, right hip) took a ground ball off his shin and left Friday’s rehab start at Class-A Charlotte after just two pitches.
Mariners LHP Ariel Miranda (7-6) will face Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-6) on Saturday night. Miranda pitched the only complete game of his career and Seattle’s only complete game of the season against the Rays on June 4, a 7-1 Mariners victory.