ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Seattle manager Eric Wedge felt Felix Hernandez had electric stuff. And even that wasn’t enough for the tough-luck ace.
Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist each had run-scoring singles with two outs during the eighth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays beat Hernandez and the Mariners, 3-2, on Friday night.
“Felix was outstanding,” Wedge said. “He had great stuff. He was in control of the ballgame. We gave it to them there in the eighth.”
Hernandez (11-11) took a one-hitter in the eighth before the Rays put together the late rally. An out after pinch-hitter Sam Fuld lined a one-out, opposite-field single to left, Johnny Damon had an infield single before Longoria and Zobrist had consecutive RBI hits to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2.
Wedge felt Damon’s ball to third baseman Adam Kennedy should have resulted in an out.
“It’s just a play that has to be made,” Wedge said. “Adam took just a little bit too much time getting it (the throw to first) over there.”
Said Kennedy: “I just made the play on it and he beat it out. … Apparently I took too long. I didn’t think so at the time, but he was getting down the line pretty well.”
Juan Cruz (5-0) got two outs in the eighth for the win. Kyle Farnsworth pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
Hernandez allowed three runs and six hits in eight innings. The reigning AL Cy Young winner had nine strikeouts and three walks in his fourth complete game this season.
“It was a Bugs Bunny changeup, just diving off the table,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “There’s a reason this guy won the Cy Young.”
Hernandez felt like he had no-hit quality stuff.
“It was a tough loss,” he said. “Baseball is like that. Can’t do anything about that.”
Kyle Seager put the Mariners up 2-1 with his first major league homer, a solo shot off Wade Davis leading off the seventh.
Trayvon Robinson doubled in the third and later scored from third to make it 1-0 when Rays shortstop Sean Rodriguez was charged with an error for an errant throw to the plate on Franklin Gutierrez’s grounder.
Davis gave up two runs and seven hits over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
Hernandez appeared to land wrong on an 0-2 pitch to Casey Kotchman in the fifth, but the right-hander wound up recording a strikeout. B.J. Upton then hit a one-out grounder that got past the glove-hand side of Kennedy for the Rays’ first hit.
After Upton stole second and third and Matt Joyce drew a walk, John Jaso tied it at 1 on a sacrifice bunt. Upton had been 1-for-22 against Hernandez before the hit.
Mariners first baseman Mike Carp extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a second-inning infield single.
Seattle outfielder Casper Wells, hit by a pitch in the nose Wednesday, went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts as the designated hitter. Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo, who missed one game after being hit in the chin by a foul ball Tuesday, had a single in four at-bats.
Seattle placed infielder Jack Wilson (bruised left heel) on the 15-day disabled list and activated shortstop Brendan Ryan (left shoulder). … Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins (right hip flexor) took grounders before the game. “He’s still going to need some time,” Wedge said. … Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak (broken nose) is taking batting practice and will be re-evaluated in about a week.
The Mariners will play the second of three games in Tampa Bay today at 4:10 p.m. (PDT), with the Rays sending right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (10-8) to the mound against left-hander Charlie Furbush (3-4) in a battle of rookies. The game will be televised on Root Sports and broadcast on 770-AM.
Seattle (Charlie Furbush: 2-1, 4.76 ERA) at Tampa Bay (Jeremy Hellickson: 10-8, 3.22), 4:10 p.m., Root Sports, 770-AM