Devil Rays 7, Mariners 0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Doug Waechter celebrated his mother’s birthday in grand fashion.
Waechter became the first Tampa Bay pitcher to throw a shutout in his first major league start, leading the Devil Rays over the Seattle Mariners 7-0 Wednesday night with a two-hitter.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “The kid went after them. Just outstanding. You couldn’t have scripted this thing better.”
The loss dropped the Mariners into a tie with Boston in the AL wild-card race. Seattle remained two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West.
Waechter (2-0), who threw just 100 pitches, went to high school four miles from Tropicana Field and pitched in front of more than 100 friends and family members. Among those in attendance was his mother, Nancy Waechter, who celebrated her birthday at the ballpark.
“I was a lucky kid, but I never thought all this would come together at once,” Waechter said. “I can’t explain it. It’s a blessing.”
Waechter’s mother also saw her son throw a no-hitter for Class-A Hudson Valley in 2000.
“She’s been good luck so far,” Waechter said.
Waechter won his only other major league appearance, pitching 2 1-3 scoreless innings in an 8-4 win at Seattle on Aug. 27.
“He pitched with a lot of emotion out there,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “He pitched a whale of a game.”
Waechter is the first pitcher to throw a shutout in his first start since Detroit’s Andy Van Hekken against Cleveland—exactly one year earlier.
Aubrey Huff hit his 28th homer for the Devil Rays, who won for just the third time in 13 games—all three against Seattle.
“I’ll tell you what … that was the funnest game of the year for me,” Huff said. “You got a crowd with a hometown boy here getting into it. It just makes it that much more fun to play baseball.”
Huff went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs. He has homered in eight of his past 12 games.
Seattle starter Freddy Garcia (11-13) allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings. He had been 6-0 against Tampa Bay.
Travis Lee’s sacrifice fly put the Devil Rays ahead in the first. Huff hit a three-run homer in the third, giving him nine RBIs in three games.
Garcia has allowed 31 homers, four short of Scott Bankhead’s team record set in 1987.
Lee had an RBI double in the fifth that made it 5-0.
Seattle didn’t have a runner reach second until putting runners on first and second with one out in the sixth. Shortstop Julio Lugo then started an inning-ending double play by lunging to his left to grab Edgar Martinez’s hard-hit grounder behind second base.
“The one time we had a chance to battle back, they make a great play on Edgar and turn it into a double play,” Melvin said.
Rocco Baldelli and Huff hit RBI singles in the sixth.
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4 and has just three hits in his past 35at-bats, dropping his average to .316.
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts briefly talked with Waechter after the game. “I enjoyed that very much,” Roberts said. … Tampa Bay started play in 1998. … Justin Klemm replaced injured umpire John Hirschbeck, who left Tuesday’s game with a bruised lower left rib cage. Hirschbeck was hit a foul tip. Klemm’s controversial call on Moises Alou’s ball down the line Tuesday night angered the Chicago Cubs in their 2-0 loss to St. Louis. … Mariners closer Shigetoshi Hasegawa was not available after throwing 50 pitches over two innings en route to picking up the win in Tuesday’s 10-8, 11-inning Seattle victory. … Huff has a 12-game hitting streak, batting .479 with eighthomers and 21 RBIs over the stretch.