ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Drew Rasmussen struck out nine in six shutout innings, Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run home run and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Seattle 3-2 Wednesday night, ending the Mariners’ four-game winning streak.
Rasmussen (1-1) set career highs in innings pitched, pitches (84) and strikeouts in his 14th career start. He gave up two hits and one walk and retired the last 10 Mariners he faced.
”It’s really hard to complain about today’s outing besides the one walk. I prefer not to walk guys, but I’ll let it slide today,” Rasmussen said. ”I thought we had really good command of the cutter, and that allowed us to get ahead and create weak contact early. And I though the slider was really good today.”
Six of his strikeouts came on the slider.
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales (1-2) lasted just 11 pitches and left after being struck on the left wrist by a line drive hit by Harold Ramirez. X-Rays on the wrist were negative, and manager Scott Servais has not ruled out Gonzales making his next start.
Ramirez’s hit drove in the first run of the game.
Kiermaier’s second homer of the season came off Yohan Ramirez after a single by Taylor Walls in the fourth.
”I’ve been searching there for a while, still am,” said Kiermaier, who got his batting average over .200 with a couple of hits. ”I’d like to make a couple more adjustments, but we’re heading in the right direction. We’re trying to get more guys locked in offensively and try and ride off our pitchers.”
Wednesday night, they rode Rasmussen, who struck out five in a row in one stretch.
”He’s been itching to find a way to get deeper into ball games and he certainly did tonight,” manager Kevin Cash said. ”It’s tough to say he’s been much better than that.”
J.P. Crawford homered off Rays reliever Colin Poche in the seventh, his third of the season. Abraham Toro hit his second homer of the season off Andrew Kittredge with two out in the ninth.
Kittredge got the final four outs for his third save in three tries.
Mariners: RHP Paul Sewald was activated after spending a week on the COVID-19 injured list. … RHP Ken Giles (middle finger tendon strain) is ready to start throwing. … RHP Sergio Romo (right shoulder inflammation) might need a rehab appearance before being activated.
Rays: RHP Corey Kluber had his next start pushed back from Thursday to Friday against Minnesota. … C Mike Zunino (sore left shoulder) was available Wednesday, but manager Kevin Cash said he would prefer Zunino to get a day or two off. … LHP Ryan Yarbrough (left groin tightness) is scheduled for a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A Durham.
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Rasmussen was born in Payallup, Washington, and played three sports at Mount Spokane High School before being drafted by Milwaukee in 2018.
”(The Mariners are) the team I grew up rooting for, and to have success against them is great,” he said.
He became the fourth Washington-born pitcher to throw at least six scoreless innings in a game against the Mariners, joining Jon Lester (five times), Blake Snell (twice) and Dana Eveland.
RHP Chris Flexen (1-2, 3.63) will pitch Thursday’s series finale for the Mariners. With Kluber scratched from the start, LHP Jeffrey Springs (1-0, 0.00) will start for the Rays in what Cash described as an ”all hands on deck” situation.
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