Mariners Game Recap: Elias Continues Domination of AL East, M’s Win
By Ric Dickens
May 25, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Brad Miller (5) celebrates with third baseman Kyle Seager (15) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners (21-23) celebrated this Memorial Day and started the last series of this nine game road trip right, beating the Tampa Bay Rays (24-22) by a score of 4-1, and gaining ground on the first place Houston Astros who lost 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles earlier today.
With the win the Mariners are now seven games back, and just two games shy of the .500 mark, something they haven’t been able to reach since April 12th.
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I said in the pre-game report that I thought fans would be treated to a pitchers duel, and I was proven correct, as these two starting pitchers didn’t disappoint. In the end, Roenis Elias (2-1 2.56 ERA) was able to best the Rays counterpart Jake Odorizzi (3-5 2.31 ERA) and because of that, Elias was able to pick up his second win of the season.
Roenis Elias went six solid innings for the Mariners, giving up six hits and allowing just one earned run. That one run came off the bat of Logan Forsythe, a solo home run that cleared the fence in left field in the bottom of the sixth inning. Elias got into some trouble throughout the game, and his three walks certainly contributed to that, but he was able to show veteran moxie, and poise that is far beyond his years to escape the jams. Elias was able to go out there and again give the Mariners another quality start, and Lloyd McClendon has to be more than pleased with his performance. With this performance he was able to lower his already impressive ERA from 2.76 to 2.56, and continue to dominate the AL East as he has done all season.
Jake Odorizzi pitched a great game for the Tampa Bay Rays, keeping the Mariners hitters at bay all night. Jake gave up two runs (one earned), struck out seven, and scattered five hits throughout seven sharp innings. Unfortunately for Jake, he was the hard luck loser, as the Rays offense didn’t have much of an answer for Elias or the Mariners bullpen. Nevertheless, I came away impressed with the 25-year-old as he was effective through seven solid innings.
The Mariners offense was able to get most of their offensive work done in the first inning, and tacked on insurance runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings for the victory. The top of the first started with Seth Smith reaching on an error by Rays shortstop Tim Beckham. Brad Miller was then able to follow that up with a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Robinson Cano, who has been in a major slump as of late, laced a two strike pitch down the right field line for a single, scoring Seth Smith from second and allowing Brad Miller to advance to third. Nelson Cruz then followed it up with a base hit of his own to center, allowing Brad to score from third to make it 2-0. In the top of the eighth, it was the top of the order doing damage again. Seth Smith started it off with a double to center field, and Robinson Cano was again able to score him with an RBI single to right field. In the ninth, the M’s were able to add one more when Mike Zunino obliterated a 3-2 pitch from Brandon Gomes, hitting a towering solo home run into the second deck in left field for his sixth home run of the season.
It was very encouraging to see Robinson Cano starting to hit again at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a couple RBIs (as I called in my pre-game write-up) and hopefully he can keep that going. Mariners fans have begged to see Robinson Cano come to form, and like I said in the pre game write-up, good hitters always find a way to turn things around. Hopefully tonight is the start of his turn around, as that would be huge for the Mariners.
Some other notable standouts at the dish for the Mariners was first basemen Logan Morrison, who finished the game going 2-for-4, reaching on a bunt single to third and hitting a single to right in the seventh. Seth Smith finished the day 2-for-5, reaching base three times and scoring twice, which is something you look for in a lead-off hitter.
With the win, the Mariners improve to 4-3 on the road trip, and inch closer to the first place Houston Astros, but still sit a rather distant seven games back.
The Mariners are back at it tomorrow against these same Tampa Bay Rays, with J.A. Happ (3-1 3.61 ERA) facing off against Alex Colome (3-1 4.81 ERA) at 4:10 pm PT at Tropicana Field. You can catch game two of the three game series on Root Sports Northwest, or stream it anywhere through a MLB.tv subscription.