NS. PETERSBURG – In a season of ups and downs so far, the Mariners have had one impressive constant: beating the Rays.
This trend continued on Monday night at Tropicana Field as the Mariners cooled the Rays with an 8-2 win at the start of a three-game series and a one-sided defeat to a previously red-hot team that finished tied for the American gave league the best record and came over to the Red Sox.
What gives? The Mariners are 5-0 against the Rays in 2021 and win in every possible way, be it through solid pitching, punctual hitting, rallies in the late inning or dominance from start to finish on Monday evening.
The Mariners, who scored a four-game sweep of the Rays (with three walk-off wins) in Seattle June 17-20, came to St. Petersburg at an emotional low. They were beaten twice by the last-placed Rangers in walk-off home runs. Meanwhile, the newly crowned first-placed Rays flew high.
But the Mariners benefited from 6 2/3 innings from right-hander Chris Flexen (10-5), who allowed two runs with seven hits while he walked two and hit six on 113 pitches.
They also put together a third five-run inning in which the first seven batter hit the base, four with singles. The Mariners had their largest inning since June 9 when they scored five 11th inning runs against the Tigers. It made life difficult for Ray’s starter Michael Wacha (2-3), who needed 42 pitches to escape the frame.
First baseman Ty France finished a triple short of the cycle and went 3-for-5 with a solo homer in the seventh.