Zunino’s slam, 7 RBIs power Mariners past Rays




Associated Press

SEATTLE — Mike Zunino hit his first grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Seattle Mariners to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

Zunino, sent down to Triple-A Tacoma for two weeks in May after struggling offensively, had a two-run double in the second, an RBI single in the fourth, and capped a five-run fifth with his slam that put the Mariners up 9-1.

Rookie right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1) allowed one run — a homer by Corey Dickerson to lead off the game — and four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked none in his fourth start since being called up May 10.

Alex Cobb (4-5) was rocked for nine runs and 14 hits in five innings.

Nelson Cruz had three hits, including a solo homer, and Danny Valencia had four singles and scored three times for the Mariners, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

The Mariners erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the second on Valencia’s RBI single and Zunino’s two-run double to the gap in right-center.

Seattle made it 4-1 in the fourth on singles by Valencia, Taylor Motter and Zunino. The Mariners failed to add on when Motter was out at home attempting to score from third on a ball that initially got away from catcher Derek Norris.

Cruz got Seattle’s five-run fifth started with his 13th homer, a one-out solo shot to left. The Mariners loaded the bases on a single by Valencia, a walk to Motter and Jarrod Dyson’s bunt single. Zunino, who had five RBIs in 103 at-bats before Saturday, then drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left for his second homer.

Logan Morrison hit a solo homer in the ninth for the Rays, his 16th.


Rays: 3B Evan Longoria, who left Friday’s game with neck stiffness, was back in the lineup, batting third. Longoria had three singles Saturday before coming out after the sixth inning. … Norris limped off after flying out to center field in the eighth and was replaced behind the plate by Jesus Sucre.

Mariners: SS Jean Segura, placed on the 10-day DL on Friday (right high ankle sprain), is optimistic for a quick return. “I don’t think it’s going to take a month, maybe a couple weeks,” Segura said Saturday, wearing a boot on his right ankle. “We’ll see how it feels the next couple of days.” Segura was injured Thursday on a slide into second when he tried to advance on a sacrifice fly. … OF Mitch Haniger (strained right oblique) was OK a day after taking batting practice Friday and could begin a rehab assignment next week. … RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (right shoulder inflammation) threw a simulated game Saturday. “I think where he’s at mechanically, not quite consistent in his release point yet,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s a step in the right direction, to get hitters in there. You dial up the intensity a little bit and sometimes you get a better read on where you’re at.”


Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-0, 3.66) starts the finale of the three-game series Sunday at Safeco Field against the Mariners. Ramirez, making his fifth start, lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start, allowing four runs on six hits after pitching an inning in relief the previous day.

Mariners: LHP Ariel Miranda (5-2, 4.17), originally slated to start the season at Triple-A, has provided much-needed reliability to the injury-ravaged rotation. He has allowed only six earned runs in 22 innings in his last four starts.