The Tampa Bay Rays swept a three-game streak with Boston over the weekend to take first place in the American League East.
But they still haven’t found a way to beat the Seattle Mariners in 2021.
The Rays lost 8-2 to the visiting Mariners on Monday night to fall to 0-5 against them this season. The teams will meet Tuesday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“It’s just one of those things,” said Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. “Went out (Sunday) night in prime time and to a packed house, then it was kinda dead in the building all night (Monday), and we couldn’t build momentum for ourselves.” .
“(Seattle) had better hitters from the start. Even when we were down to five or six it seemed like a lot more than that because we weren’t able to generate much. These things happen.
The Rays were in first place when they took a June 17-20 trip to Seattle. They lost four games in a row to find themselves behind the Red Sox and it wasn’t until Boston’s sweep to regain the lead.
“It’s a game so nobody cares about it or anything,” Kiermaier said. “We have just spent a great weekend. These things happen. They were the much better team, and it shows. “
The Mariners, who are three games behind Oakland in the race for second place in the AL wild card, had just suffered two straight losses to modest Texas.
“You’re going to have your ups and downs,” said Ty France of the Mariners, who had three hits, including a double and a homer, and three runs batted in in Monday’s series opener. “(Sunday) we hit bullets hard directly at people, and (Monday) they fell. This is just how it goes.
Monday’s game also featured the return of Mariners closest Diego Castillo to Tampa Bay after the Rays traded him to Seattle on Thursday. He received a nice standing ovation from the crowd and lifted his hat as he sat in the bullpen.
“I was actually a little sad when I heard the news,” Castillo said through a translator. “I never thought I would actually be traded.”
Five days later, he’s back at Tropicana Field, but in a different uniform.
“It’s a little crazy,” he said. “You are traded, you go away for a few days and then come back to the team you originally had.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash joked ahead of the game that he hoped Castillo would have the next three days off.
Castillo said he appreciates everything the Rays have done for him, but “once I put on the Seattle uniform I can’t go back and remember that they’re my teammates. I have to go and just do my job.
The Mariners are scheduled to start All-Star left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (6-6, 4.01 ERA) on Tuesday against Rays right-hander Luis Patino (2-2, 4.26).
Kikuchi beat the Rays 5-1 on June 18 in his only previous appearance against them. He allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, with three walks and six strikeouts.
Patino faced the Mariners twice last season while in San Diego, making a start and posting a 3.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings combined. He had neither victory nor defeat against them.
-Media at field level