Mariners triumph 4-0 over Tampa Bay in a one-sided battle of rookie right-handers.
By MARC TOPKIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 3, 1999
SEATTLE -- Well, Wade Boggs got a hit ... Paul Sorrento stole a base ... and Fred McGriff returned to the lineup.
That was about it for the good news Monday night as the Devil Rays lost 4-0 to Seattle before a sellout crowd of 45,118 at new Safeco Field.
The cities and the stadiums change, but the results remain the same as the Rays lost their fourth straight and 15th in their past 19.
The problem again was pitching -- theirs and Seattle's.
The Rays sent 24-year-old rookie Mickey Callaway to the mound against the league's most powerful offense, and though it wasn't as bad as you might have thought, it wasn't good enough. The Rays allowed eight hits and walked five to push their league-leading total to 477, an average of 4.5.
"(Callaway) didn't do that bad at all," manager Larry Rothschild said. "I thought he was okay."
Callaway was tougher on himself: "I didn't do my job tonight, and it cost us the game, by walking people."
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay batters had all kinds of trouble with Seattle rookie starter Freddy Garcia, who won his 11th game. The 22-year-old right-hander was acquired from Houston in last year's Randy Johnson trade, and he pitched like the former Mariners ace, scattering six hits over 7 2/3 innings and striking out 10.
"He's pitched against us three times (2-0 with a 1.53 ERA), and tonight was the best I've seen him," Rothschild said. "He got his curveball over more consistenty, and his change-up was the big pitch."
At least the night wasn't a total loss. Boggs singled to left in the fifth, moving within five of the 3,000 milestone, setting up what should be a celebratory home-stand at Tropicana Field.
Boggs said getting to within five of the milestone was no more significant than six or seven. "My feelings haven't changed," he said. "I'm inching closer and closer to where I'm eventually trying to get."
Sorrento, who missed the weekend series for the birth of his daughter, marked the occasion with a single, a walk and his first stolen base since Sept. 8, his third since 1995. McGriff, who missed three games with a strained left quadriceps, was back in the lineup as the DH but didn't do much, lining out once, striking out twice and walking.
McGriff stiffened up after the eighth-inning walk and was replaced by a pinch-runner. He is expected in the lineup tonight.
Callaway lived on the edge early, working in and out of jams in the first two innings. The Mariners got to him with three runs in the fourth.
The rally started innocently enough, a bouncer by Alex Rodriguez that got by Callaway for an infield single. But two walks wrapped around a flyout loaded the bases, and it got worse.
Callaway bounced his second pitch to Dan Wilson, and it went through catcher John Flaherty's legs, allowing Rodriguez to score. Wilson ripped the next pitch for a run-scoring single to left, and Russ Davis followed with a sacrifice fly to right.
"The two walks ended up scoring, which doesn't help, but it's a younger pitcher who made a couple mistakes," Rothschild said.
The Mariners struck again in the seventh against Esteban Yan. Ken Griffey dropped a bloop into left that bounced past Bubba Trammell, Yan hit Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez lined a run-scoring single to left.
The Rays' best chance may have come in the fifth when Boggs and Tony Graffanino opened with singles. But Garcia got Sorrento on a fly to short left and Aaron Ledesma on a tapper back to the mound that advanced the runners, and he struck out Terrell Lowery.
Garcia left with Lowery on second in the eighth. Reliever Steve Sinclair walked McGriff with two outs, but Jose Paniagua, a Rays expansion draft pick who was let go in the spring of 1998, struck out Flaherty on three pitches.