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Rays' Odorizzi has another strong outing in win

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- After a rough stretch of starts that lasted the good part of a month, Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi sat down with catcher Ryan Hanigan and pitching coach Jim Hickey and tried to come up with a solution.

Keeping it simple seemed to be the best way to approach his May 9 outing against Cleveland, and Odorizzi has not strayed from that philosophy.

For the second time in as many starts, Odorizzi did not allow a run, holding the Seattle Mariners to one hit in six innings of the Rays' 2-0 win on Wednesday afternoon.

Odorizzi (2-3) has allowed just six hits in 11 scoreless innings while striking out 18 in his past two starts.

"It was pretty close to the same game plan as the last time," said Odorizzi, who picked up his first win since April 4 on Wednesday. "Good execution, and I'll build on it for the next one."

Odorizzi pitched 5 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before Seattle center fielder James Jones singled with two outs in the sixth before three Tampa Bay relievers finished the Rays' first shutout since April 26.

After falling behind 8-0 in the second inning of Monday's series opener, Tampa Bay allowed just five runs in the final 25 innings of the Seattle series.

"We pitched really well after those first two," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Devil Rays (18-23) are now winners of back-to-back games for the first time since May 1-2.

The bad news for Tampa Bay could come as early as Thursday, when the team expects to find out whether second baseman Ben Zobrist will have to go on the disabled list with a dislocated thumb. He suffered the injury sliding into second base during a steal attempt in the fifth and was out for the rest of Wednesday's game.

Maddon said afterward that the team will re-evaluate the injury, adding that Zobrist could go on the 15-day disabled list but will probably be out at least until the middle of next week.

Tampa Bay's two runs came on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth and a wild pitch during the next at-bat.

Seattle (20-20) had just two hits in the game and was held to eight hits and one run in the final two games of the homestand. During that two-game span, the Mariners struck out 21 times.

"Our bats weren't that good," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said, "and it was a very favorable strike zone."

Odorizzi did not allow a hit until the sixth, when Jones singled with two outs to break up a no-hit bid. Odorizzi struck out Mariners right fielder Stefen Romero to end the inning, then came out of the game after throwing 95 pitches -- with seven strikeouts.

Afterward, Odorizzi said he was aware of the fact that he carried a no-hitter into the sixth but that he was not concerned about it.

"If I'd have gotten through the sixth inning, I still would have needed nine more outs. So I really wasn't thinking about it," he said. "You don't really think about those things until you've got an out or two in the eighth."

Relievers Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Grant Balfour completed the shutout. Balfour retired the side in the ninth to pick up his seventh save of the season and his first since May 1, when Balfour saved both ends of a doubleheader.

The Mariners finished the game without McClendon, who was ejected for arguing a third-strike call to catcher John Buck in the bottom of the eighth.

Buck checked his swing on a full-count pitch into the dirt and first-base umpire Lance Barksdale ruled it a swing. A frustrated Buck headed to the Seattle dugout and McClendon came barreling onto the field to confront Barksdale behind first base. It was the 25th time in his career that McClendon was tossed from a game.

McClendon said he was particularly miffed when Barksdale told him not to come out of the dugout to argue the call.

"Obviously, I didn't think (Buck) swung," McClendon said. "But for the umpire to tell me not to come out there, that's what I don't get.

"It is what it is. Write what you want to write. Say what you want to say. I can't say it because I'll get fined."

McClendon was the second Mariner to be thrown out of a game in the three-game series. Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez was ejected on Monday night for arguing with home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger.

With a fresh bullpen and an off day on Thursday, McClendon had a fairly quick trigger in regards to his starting pitcher. After starter Brandon Maurer walked three consecutive batters in the fourth, the final of which brought in the game's first run with two outs, McClendon made a move to the bullpen.

Reliever Dominic Leone's second pitch of the game was a wild pitch to bring in another run for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead.

Maurer (1-2) allowed two runs, two hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Four Seattle relievers combined to throw 5 1/3 inning of scoreless ball, allowing just one hit while striking out 10.

NOTES: Rays 2B Ben Zobrist dislocated his left thumb while sliding into second base on a steal attempt in the fifth inning. A team trainer popped the thumb back into place, but Zobrist was replaced by INF Sean Rodriguez to start the bottom of the fifth. ... Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon continues to shake up his batting order. LF Matt Joyce was in the leadoff role on Wednesday, a day after getting three hits and the game-winning RBI in the Rays' 2-1 victory over Seattle. Wednesday marked only the second time all season that Joyce has batted first. ... Mariners starters James Paxton (lat muscle) and Taijuan Walker (shoulder), two-fifths of the projected rotation, threw successful bullpen sessions before Wednesday's game and are expected to be on the trip to Minnesota. Both pitchers are expected to throw simulation games at some point before getting sent off for rehab assignments in the near future. ... Mariners RHP Brandon Maurer gave up a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning on Wednesday. During his career, Maurer has now allowed 13 runs with the bases loaded -- and opposing hitters are 5 for 9 against him.

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