ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The free-fall is over for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Erik Bedard struck out eight in six innings and the Rays stopped a 10-game losing streak by beating the Seattle Mariners 4-0 Friday night.
The skid tied Boston for the longest in the majors this season. The Red Sox dropped 10 straight from May 15-25, with Tampa Bay handing them the last three losses in the streak. This was the Rays’ first victory since then.
“The music is back on in the clubhouse after the game,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s good to hear the music. It’s a good first game to start hopefully getting us back in the right direction.”
Bedard (3-4) scattered four hits and walked one in ending a three-start losing streak. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Grant Balfour, who gave up a ninth-inning single, all went one inning to complete a five-hitter.
“It’s way more fun winning,” Bedard said. “We celebrated, and hopefully we do that tomorrow, too.”
After Jose Molina got his first RBI this season on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, Tampa Bay went ahead 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI bunt single by Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar’s run-scoring single off Chris Young (5-3).
Young gave up three runs, seven hits and five walks over five innings for the Mariners, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
“This is one of those days we didn’t play very well on either side of the baseball and those things happen,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
The Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but failed score when Molina popped out to shortstop Brad Miller. Dating to last season, it was Molina’s 100th consecutive at-bat, including 87 this year, without an RBI.
Kevin Kiermaier doubled and went to third on a wild pitch in the fourth before Molina ended a stretch of 19 scoreless innings by Seattle pitchers with his sac fly.
“I play for the team,” Molina said. “I don’t play for myself. To help the team to get that run in, and get the win, I’m happy with it.”
Bedard worked out of a second-and-third, no-out jam in the third by striking out Miller, James Jones and Michael Saunders.
Saunders left after three innings due to a sore right shoulder.
“He hurt it on deck swinging,” McClendon said. “Hopefully he’ll be OK in a day or two.”
NOTES: The Rays on Saturday will honor the life of senior adviser Don Zimmer, who died Wednesday night at 83. “I got up (on Thursday’s off day) and getting ready to go to the track, and I realized Zim was not picking me up,” said McClendon, who played on the 1989 Chicago Cubs NL East championship team managed by Zimmer. “Zim and I have been going to the track for the last eight, nine years. I’ll miss that. Zim was an institution. He was certainly a mentor to me.” … The Mariners will salute Yankees SS Derek Jeter in a pregame ceremony before Tuesday night’s game. Jeter is retiring after this season. … Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) and C Ryan Hanigan (hamstring) are scheduled to start minor league rehab assignments Saturday with Class-A Charlotte. Hellickson hopes to be back before the All-Star break, and Hanigan could return next week. … Seattle LHP James Paxton (left shoulder inflammation) could resume playing catch Monday.