BY: John Mamola
Erik Bedard prevented the Seattle Mariners from setting a season-high six game winning streak by shutting down a hot Mariners offense as the Tampa Bay Rays snapped their ten game losing streak with a 4-0 win on Friday night at Tropicana Field. Bedard lost his three previous starts coming into the contest but only allowed four hits through his six innings of work to grab the win for the Rays.
Tampa Bay was looking for something to begin improving on a season which found them at 23-38 with the worst winning percentage in Major League Baseball coming into the game. The Rays played like the Tampa Bay Rays’ teams of the past with quality pitching and just enough offense to win the ballgame.
That something began with something that hadn’t happened in one hundred at-bats for Jose Molina, an RBI. Molina started the scoring for Tampa Bay in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly scoring Kevin Kiermaier giving the Rays a 1-0 lead on Seattle starter Chris Young.
Tampa Bay’s offense kept up the pressure with a Desmond Jennings safety squeeze RBI single in the fifth inning to make it 2-0 Rays. Yunel Escobar added to the lead in the fifth with an RBI single of his own giving Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. Escobar would score on a Tom Wilhelmsen wild pitch in the seventh inning securing a 4-0 lead for the Rays.
The Rays offense, although scoring enough runs to win, did leave many opportunities in the game to score more. The Rays had the bases loaded five separate times in the game, and left a season high fifteen men on base. The Rays pitching made up for the lack of capitalizing on opportunities as they set a new franchise record with ten or more strikeouts in six consecutive games.
The Rays bullpen combination of Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Grant Balfour combined for a scoreless three innings allowing only one hit and striking out six.
Tampa Bay will look for two in a row over Seattle tomorrow afternoon at Tropicana Field as they send Alex Cobb against Roenis Elias for the Mariners. Catch all the action on WDAE beginning with the 3:30pm pre game, and a 4:10pm first pitch.