A crazy night it was for Cesar Ramos. (Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Seattle Mariners in the opening game of a seven game road trip by a final score of 12-5.
The game literally couldn’t have started off any worse for Cesar Ramos and company, as the lefty gave up 9 runs in his first three innings of work. However, the early 9-0 deficit wasn’t entirely on Ramos’ shoulders, as the defense behind him made some…interesting…plays, accounting for four errors in those first three innings of the ballgame.
The Mariners put a run on the board with just the second batter of the game, as Stefen Romero singled home James Jones after he lead off the game with a double. For the following batter, up came Robinson Cano, who missed a two run home run by literal inches, but still was able to bring Romero home. On, you guessed it, the very next batter, Corey Hart narrowly missed a home run and brought Cano home, and if it weren’t for a home run trot that caused a tag out at 2nd base, the Mariners possibly put more runs on the board in the opening frame.
It was more of the same in a five-run second inning, except instead of Ramos leaving pitches up and over the plate, the Rays defense couldn’t buy an out. Wil Myers, Evan Longoria, Ramos and James Loney all recorded errors within the first two innings, and each one of the errors lead to a run being scored. But, in true Rays fashion, they found a way to make a 9-0 game interesting.
From the fourth inning on, not only did Ramos settle down, but he almost completely shut down (the Mariners offense that is) and did not allow a single hit until being taken out of the game with two out in the bottom of the seventh. When it was all said and done, Ramos went 6.2 IP, gave up 11 hits, 9 runs (five of them earned) and walked two–all in the opening three innings. Ramos also finished the night with six strikeouts.
Felix Hernandez, on the other hand, had almost an exact opposite outing. The Rays were able to scatter a hit here and there off of King Felix, but he kept them off the scoreboard until the top of the seventh, when the Rays had their first (and only) true scoring threat of the game.
The inning started with back-to-back-to-back singles from Sean Rodriguez, Logan Forsythe and Myers. Once the bases were loaded, and Hernandez had himself a talkin’ to from Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis, which settled him down enough to strike out both Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar.
With two batters gone and the bases still loaded, Ryan Hanigan cleared the bases with a double and put the Rays on the board. After the play, the Mariners made a pitching change in a bizarre sequence. As Hernandez walked off the field to applause from Mariners fans, he barked at home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, who ejected him from the game. Anyone ever seen a pitcher ejected as he was leaving a game? With new pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen on the bump, David DeJesus would bring Hanigan home on a bloop double, but that’d be all the Rays would get.
The Rays seemed to claw their way back into the game until the bottom of the 8th, when Josh Lueke took the Tampa Bay bump and allowed two balls to leave the park–one off the bat of Romero, and the other a two-run shot from Justin Smoak. The Rays’ momentum was gone as the Mariners built a 12-4 lead. The Rays did a run in the 9th on Hanigan’s 4th RBI, but that would be all as the Rays lost 12-5.
The story of tonight was, in almost every way, Cesar Ramos. Ramos pitched himself into a gander of trouble, leaving pitches up and over the plat and, allowing Mariner batters to absolutely feast off of him. But nearly as easily, Ramos was able to calm down after digging a deep whole, and pitched 3.2 innings of perfect ball. Whether or not Maddon said it before the game, he was going to stick with Ramos–no one warmed in the pen, and Ramos didn’t even get a mound visit. In any event, he saved the Rays bullpen and allowed them to remain rested for another day.
It’ll be a short turnaround (but no travel involved) for tomorrow, as David Price will take the bump for another late game, opposing M’s righty Hisashi Iwakuma. First pitch is set to fly at 1o:10 EST.