Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Rays searching for breakthrough win over Mariners

Field Level Media
03 Aug 2021, 17:19 GMT+10

The Tampa Bay Rays swept a three-game series with Boston over the weekend to take over first place in the American League East.

But they still haven't found a way to beat the Seattle Mariners in 2021.

The Rays lost 8-2 to the visiting Mariners on Monday night to drop to 0-5 against them this season. The teams will meet again Tuesday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It's just one of those things," Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. "Came out (Sunday) night in prime time and a packed house, and then it was just kind of dead in the building the whole night (Monday), and we couldn't create any momentum for ourselves.

"(Seattle) had better at-bats from the get-go. Even when we were down five or six, it seemed like a lot more than that because we weren't able to generate a whole lot. Those things happen."

The Rays were in first place when they made a trip June 17-20 to Seattle. They lost four straight to fall behind the Red Sox and it took until the Boston sweep to regain the lead.

"It's one game, so no one's worried about it or anything," Kiermaier said. "We just had a great weekend. These things happen. They were the much better team, and it showed."

The Mariners, who are three games behind Oakland in the chase for the A.L.'s second wild-card berth, were coming off back-to-back walk-off losses against lowly Texas.

"You're going to have some highs and lows," said the Mariners' Ty France, who had three hits, including a double and home run, and three RBIs in Monday's series opener. "(Sunday) we hit some balls hard right at people, and (Monday) they dropped. It's just how it goes."

Monday's game also featured the return of Mariners closer Diego Castillo to Tampa Bay after the Rays dealt him to Seattle on Thursday. He received a nice ovation from the crowd and tipped his hat while sitting in the visiting bullpen.

"I was actually a little sad when I heard the news," Castillo said through a translator. "I never thought that I'd actually get traded."

Five days later, he's back at Tropicana Field -- albeit in a different uniform.

"It's a little crazy," he said. "You get traded, you leave for a few days and then come back to the team that you originally had."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said jokingly before the game that he hoped Castillo would get the next three days off.

Castillo said he appreciated all the Rays had done for him, but "once I put on the Seattle uniform, I can't go back and remind myself about them being my teammates. I have to go out there and just do my job."

The Mariners are scheduled to start All-Star left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (6-6, 4.01 ERA) on Tuesday against Rays right-hander Luis Patino (2-2, 4.26).

Kikuchi beat the Rays 5-1 on June 18 in his only previous appearance against them. He allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, with three walks and six strikeouts.

Patino faced the Mariners twice last season while with San Diego, making one start and posting a 3.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings combined. He did not have any wins or losses against them.

--Field Level Media

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