SEATTLE (AP)—It was a fabulous night for Lou Piniella, except for one thing: His team lost.
Mike Cameron homered in the eighth inning and Jamie Moyer earned his 12th victory as the Mariners spoiled Piniella’s return to Seattle with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night.
Fans at Safeco Field cheered Piniella at every opportunity. The Devil Rays manager spent the previous 10 years building the Mariners into one of the top teams in baseball.
“It was well worth coming here for. It really was,” Piniella said. “I would have liked to win but it was a night I’ll remember forever. Hopefully, that’s all said and done and now we can play baseball for two more days.”
Bret Boone added a three-run homer for Seattle in the third.
Moyer (12-5) threw 22 pitches in the first inning, when the Devil Rays jumped to a 2-0 lead. Then he settled into the rhythm that earned him his first trip to the All-Star game at age 40, retiring 21 of the next 24 batters through the eighth.
Moyer allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk. His 118 pitches were a season high, but he still became the fourth AL pitcher to reach 12 wins.
“I had to go out and establish my style of pitching and force them to put the ball in play,” Moyer said.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five tries.
Piniella received a warm welcome in his return to Seattle, watching this one from the visitors’ dugout for a change. He left the Mariners after last season to be closer to his family in Florida.
He got a lengthy standing ovation during a pregame ceremony in his honor, and fans cheered “Lou-u-u-u” every time he stepped onto the field.
“It was interesting to see how respected Lou is here,” said Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff, who homered in the third. “I wasn’t expecting it to be this big. Obviously, he created something really big and special. You’ve got to be crazy as a player not to enjoy that kind of atmosphere.”
Tampa Bay starter Jeremi Gonzalez pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs with six strikeouts and three walks.
Reliever Travis Harper (1-5) took over in a 3-3 tie with two outs and a runner on second in the seventh. Willie Bloomquist walked and reached second on a groundout by Carlos Guillen, but Harper got Boone to ground out.
Harper threw a 2-1 pitch to Cameron, and the Mariners’ slugger drove it into the Seattle bullpen in left field.
“We got a couple of hits when we needed them,” Boone said. “It was a tight game. Jamie had a tough time early but settled in. He got roughed up in the first inning, but it was nice to get Jamie that 12th win.”
Boone took a huge cut on an 0-1 pitch in the third, driving the ball into the upper deck in left field to tie it at 3. Gonzalez put one right over the plate and Boone connected, flipped his bat and trotted toward first.
“Gonzalez threw better,” Piniella said. “He made one bad pitch to Boone and the guy whacked it. Cameron got a good pitch to hit and he did the same.”
Ichiro Suzuki had hit a one-out infield single and reached third on a stolen base and throwing error and Carlos Guillen walked.
It was 3-0 in the third after Huff’s drive just over the wall in right.
“Moyer is tough,” Huff said. “He’s a soft-throwing lefty and you’vereally got to stay back on him. I was fortunate to get a fastball.”
Suzuki hit an infield single in the third, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. It’s his fourth 10-game streak this season. He leads the AL with 45 multihit games and has had at least two hits in nine of the last 10. … Tampa Bay 2B Marlon Anderson had an infield hit in the first, the team’s ninth in four games. The Devil Rays lead the AL with 98. … Suzuki stole his 25th base in the third, moving into a tie with New York’s Alfonso Soriano for the AL lead. … Tampa Bay SS Julio Lugo was called out on strikes twice, and arguedwith plate umpire Laz Diaz after being sent down in the seventh.