SEATTLE MARINERS

Yusei Kikuchi’s gem, big 1st inning lead Mariners past Rays 5-1

Jun 18, 2021, 10:22 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2021, 10:22 am
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners and Luis Torrens #22 bump gloves during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) The Mariners played strong defense behind Yusei Kikuchi as they beat the Rays 5-1. (AP) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches the ball during the first inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Kyle Seager #15 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the first inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) The Mariners beat the Rays 5-1 behind Yusei Kikuchi's strong seven innings. (AP) The Mariners beat the Rays 5-1 behind Yusei Kikuchi's strong seven innings. (AP) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Dylan Moore #25 of the Seattle Mariners throws to first base in an attempt to complete a double play during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Michael Wacha #52 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches the ball during the first inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners looks on during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Luis Torrens #22 of the Seattle Mariners encourages Yusei Kikuchi #18 during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches the ball during the first inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners checks the first base runner during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays shows the ball to the first base umpire during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays waits for a pitch during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Shed Long Jr. #4 of the Seattle Mariners points his bat to the home dugout during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Scott Servais #9 of the Seattle Mariners chats with umpire Quinn Wolcott #81 during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Shed Long Jr. #4 of the Seattle Mariners reacts as he walks to first base during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Manuel Margot #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays runs to first base during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Andrew Kittredge #36 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches the ball during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Andrew Kittredge #36 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches the ball during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners drops his bat as he runs to first base during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners looks on during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners hits the ball during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 18: Andrew Kittredge #36 of the Tampa Bay Rays eyes the first base runner during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Yusei Kikuchi threw four-hit ball over seven innings, Seattle batted around during a four-run first inning and the Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Friday night.

M’s 5, Rays 1: Box score | Aggressive Kikuchi reveals No. 1 mentality

Kikuchi (4-3) earned his 10th quality start in 12 appearances while sending the Rays to their fourth straight loss, matching their season high.

Asked if he thinks Kikuchi has earned All-Star consideration, Mariners manager Scott Servais said: “I think it’s a great question and I think it’s something we should talk about. I think he’s one of the top five left-handers in the game.”

The Japanese pitcher struck out six and recorded 13 infield outs as he helped the Mariners to their fifth win in six games. He’s given up seven hits and one run with 12 strikeouts over 14 innings in his last two starts.

“From the side, it looked like he got better as the game went by,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “His fastball velocity spiked in the sixth and seventh innings.”

Kikuchi struggled in the first inning, allowing two hits, including Yandy Diaz’s RBI single that made it 1-0. But he retired 11 of 12 batters starting in the second inning and got out of the third inning on eight pitches and the fourth in 10, thanks to strong play from Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford.

“I get fired up every time he makes an amazing play,” Kikuchi said through a translator, adding: “J.P. and my teammates made a lot of great plays and that allowed me to get into a rhythm. It made it really easy to pitch out there.”

Kendall Graveman and Drew Steckenrider each pitched an inning of relief with a strikeout apiece.

The Mariners batted around in the first against Michael Wacha (1-2), scoring four runs on six hits with RBIs from Kyle Seager, Jake Bauers, Shed Long Jr. and Luis Torrens, who added another RBI single in the third to make it 5-1.

“Man, that first inning was cool,” said Crawford, who led off with a double.

Wacha gave up 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings, his longest stint since returning from the injured list May 23.

Seattle repeatedly beat the shift against Tampa Bay, sending nine hits to the opposite field.

“We probably got beat around by the shift about as much as I can recall in a long time,” Cash said.

EXTRA-BASE STREAK

With a double in the third inning, Ty France extended his streak to five straight games with an extra-base hit, a team season-high. The DH/INF had three hits in the first four innings, scoring two runs.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (right elbow strain) had an encouraging meeting with a specialist in Dallas on Friday and won’t need surgery. Glasnow, who was moved to the 60-day injured list Thursday, will be shut down for four to six weeks. The hope is he might be able to return four weeks after that, perhaps for a postseason run, but manager Kevin Cash said he was not ready to predict a late return for Glasnow.

Mariners: Seattle sent RHP Justin Dunn (right shoulder soreness) to the 10-day injured list for the second time this month and moved CF Kyle Lewis (knee) to the 60-day injured list. Dunn had an MRI on Friday after pulling himself two innings into his start on Thursday, but results weren’t available. Lewis recently had surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee, and manager Scott Servais said recovery time made the move necessary.

UP NEXT

Rays: LHP Josh Fleming (6-4, 3.20) recorded his team-record 11th win in his first 18 career appearances in his last game, a 4 2/3-innings relief appearance behind an opener.

Mariners: Rookie RHP Logan Gilbert (2-2, 4.13) goes for his third straight win.

It’s rare rookies find confidence as quick as Mariners’ Logan Gilbert

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