Devil Rays 1, Mariners 0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Two years ago, the Seattle Mariners converted Jorge Sosa from an outfielder to a pitcher. On Thursday night, he showed his former organization that it was probably the correct move.
Sosa pitched a four-hitter and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays again blanked the Mariners, 1-0.
Combined with Doug Waechter’s two-hitter in his first major league start Wednesday, the Devil Rays posted consecutive complete-game shutouts for the first time in their six-year history.
“Two wonderful games,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “It shows you, if you make pitches, you focus, you concentrate and trust your stuff, you can do these sort of things. Both excellent ballgames.”
The Mariners had just two runners reach third base.
“We shouldn’t be shut out for 18 innings against guys like that,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s a hard thing to swallow right now because of the point of the season we’re in.”
The loss dropped Seattle one-half game behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Mariners are two games back of AL West-leading Oakland.
“We’ve had an opportunity to pick up some ground the last couple of games,” Melvin said. “These guys are playing well over there, but it’s a pitching staff that shouldn’t shut us out for two games. It’s two pitchers … it wasn’t even a staff.”
Damian Rolls’ RBI double in the second inning accounted for the only run.
“It’s awesome,” Rolls said. “It’s incredible for us. Sosa pitched his tail off.”
Ryan Franklin (9-12) lost despite pitching a six-hitter.
Sosa (5-9) struck out six and walked two in his first complete game in 29 career starts. He fanned Bret Boone three times.
Sosa won for the first time since July 31. He was later dropped from the rotation, then started and got a no-decision against the Mariners on Aug. 28.
“He attacked,” Devil Rays catcher Toby Hall said. “He’s just coming after people.”
In 2001, Sosa was in the Mariners’ minor league system and was converted from an outfielder to a pitcher. He went 3-1 with seven saves in 23 games between Class A Everett and Wisconsin.
“I was motivated pitching against them,” Sosa said through an interpreter.
The Devil Rays won for the fourth time in 14 games. All four victories have come against the Mariners.
Tampa Bay, at 55-83, matched its victory total from all of last season.
Franklin struck out five in his second complete game of the season.
“There’s nothing I can do really except to go out there and do my job,” Franklin said. “We’ll come out of it.”
The Mariners threatened in the fourth when Rey Sanchez had a leadoff double. He was stranded at third when Boone struck out to end the inning.
Randy Winn doubled and Mark McLemore walked to open the Seattle eighth, but the Mariners failed to score. Dan Wilson struck out on a failed bunt attempt and Sosa retired Mike Cameron and Sanchez on fly balls.
“You tend to put a little more pressure on yourself to execute because you want to take the pressure off the next guy,” Seattle’s John Olerud said. “I think it’s natural when your team is not scoring to put a little extra pressureon yourself.”
Wilson lost count of the outs in the fifth. The catcher rolled the ball to the mound and headed toward the dugout after Rolls struck out for the second out of the inning. … Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki was out of the starting lineup. He entered the day mired in a 3-for-35 slide. … Tampa Bay RF Aubrey Huff singled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. … Seattlehas scored first just once in its past 14 games.