Baseball / Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays' Yunel Escobar connects for an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, June 6, 2014. (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times/MCT)

Bedard leads Rays to 4-0 win over Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Seattle Mariners got a rare glimpse of the pitcher they hoped Erik Bedard could be when they traded for him back before the 2008. But that display came in 2014 with Bedard throwing against them.

Bedard, who went 15-14 with a 3.31 ERA in three injury-riddled seasons with the Mariners, tossed six scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and striking out eight batters to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-0 win on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

It snapped two streaks in the process. The Rays ended a 10-game losing streak, while the Mariners had their five-game winning streak snapped. It was the seventh time this season the Mariners have been shut out.

While Mariners fans remember Bedard as a petulant, disinterested pitcher who seemed content getting to 100 pitches and exiting games early, he still doesn't lack talent. Even at age 35 after multiple surgeries and his fastball topping out at 90, he has decent enough off-speed pitches and a deceptive delivery to get outs.

Working at an almost hypnotically slow pace, Bedard had all those things working against a Seattle team (31-29) that won't be mistaken for an offensive juggernaut on most nights.

He retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced. Those two exceptions came in the third inning when Stefen Romero led off the inning with an infield single. Cole Gillespie followed with a double to center to put runners on second and third with no outs. But Bedard came back to strike out Brad Miller, James Jones and Michael Saunders in a row -- all swinging.

He ran into spot of trouble in the fifth, getting runners on first and second with one out. But he got Miller to pop out foul to catcher Jose Molina and coaxed a groundball out from Jones.

While Bedard was cruising, Mariners' starter Chris Young struggled. After recording a 1-2-3 first inning, Young never worked another clean inning, facing no less than five batters in each of the next four innings he pitched.

To his credit, Young still kept the Mariners in the game. He worked out of bases loaded jams in the second and third innings without allowing a run. He allowed a run on a sacrifice fly from Molina in the fourth inning and the Rays pushed across two more in the fifth as Desmond Jennings scored Evan Longoria from third with a safety squeeze bunt and Yunel Escobar singled to left field.

Young worked five innings, giving up the three runs on seven hits with a season-high five walks and three strikeouts.

Even with Bedard out of the game, the Mariners mustered little against the Rays' bullpen, registering just one hit in the final three innings.

The Rays tacked on a fourth run in the seventh inning on Tom Wilhelmsen's wild pitch that allowed Escobar to hustle home.

(c)2014 The Seattle Times

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