Devil Rays 6, Mariners 5

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SEATTLE (AP)—Tino Martinez stole the spotlight from a former teammate with a big blast in the first inning.

Martinez hit a two-run homer to back Rob Bell, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays hung on to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Tuesday night.

Jay Buhner, a slugger with the Mariners from 1988-2001, was inducted into the team’s hall of fame before the game. Martinez was Buhner’s teammate in Seattle from 1991-95, and he attended a luncheon honoring Buhner earlier in the day.

“He was a great teammate and one of my favorites of all time,” Martinez said. “It was a great day today. Both teams out there played hard. We just happened to come out ahead.

“I think if you asked Jay about the game, he would be proud about the Mariners playing hard and us playing hard, and fighting to the end. We just happened to come out on top.”

Seattle (46-78) dropped 32 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 1983 season 60-102. The Mariners have been in last place in the AL West since the second day of the season.

Bell (6-7) allowed two runs—only one earned—and three hits in seven innings. After Danys Baez allowed a two-run single to pinch-hitter Bucky Jacobsen and an RBI single to Jose Lopez in the ninth, he threw a called third strike past Willie Bloomquist with a runner on first to end it.

Bell said he felt great in the bullpen, but lost focus when he got to the mound. It was his first start at Safeco Field.

“I walked out there in the first inning and I felt like my focus was not exactly where it needed to be,” he said.

Martinez, who reached 20 homers for the ninth time, tied Cecil Fielder for 87th on the career list at 319.

A Tampa native who was traded to the Devil Rays by St. Louis in November, Martinez is looking at the future, not the past. He wants to play beyond this season.

“I’ve been fortunate to play a long time,” Martinez said. “I’m going to try to keep playing and playing as hard as I can every day. When my career is done, I’ll see what my numbers are.”

Manager Lou Piniella had Martinez as a player from 1993-95 in Seattle. Now, he’s had him back in Tampa Bay for at least one season.

“Tino has done a nice job for us, he really has,” Piniella said. “He’s really a pro.”

Ryan Franklin (3-13) dropped to 0-9 in 14 starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on June 5. He allowed four runs and eight hits in eight innings, matching his career high for losses after going 11-13 last season.

His nine-game losing streak is the second-longest single-season losing streak in the Mariners’ history. Mike Parrott lost 16 consecutive games in 1980.

Franklin is tired of talking about his losing skid.

“I’ve talked about it all year,” he said. “Man, I’m just going to tell you tell you the same thing I always tell you. And you guys know what it is.”

Franklin has talked about the lack of offensive support from his teammates. He’s last in the majors in run support. The Mariners have scored 52 runs in the 158 innings he has pitched this season.

“We don’t give him much anytime,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Tampa Bay’s Jorge Cantu had a career-high three hits, and Carl Crawford also had three hits for the Devil Rays.

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki had his 199th hit and is batting an AL-best .369.

Toby Hall’s RBI double in the second increased the Devil Rays’ lead to 3-0, but Seattle closed within a run in the bottom half when Lopez hit an RBI grounder and Bell threw a run-scoring wild pitch following an error by Cantu at third.

Julio Lugo had an RBI single in the eighth, and Tampa Bay boosted its lead to 6-2 in the ninth on Rey Sanchez’s run-scoring single and Damian Rolls’ sacrifice fly.

Notes

Martinez hit his 17th homer against the Mariners. … Tampa Bay’s Jesus Colome, who pitched a hitless eighth, hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances and 12 innings.

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