SEATTLE -- Starting pitcher Ariel Miranda dazzled, allowing one run in his first career complete-game victory, Nelson Cruz launched a two-run home run and Jarrod Dyson and Mike Zunino chipped in two RBIs apiece to lead to the Mariners to a 7-1 win over the Rays on Sunday at Safeco Field, completing a three-game sweep.
Miranda (6-2, 3.74 ERA) picked up his fifth consecutive win and improved to 5-0 in his last eight decisions. In addition to achieving his first complete game, the left-hander struck out five of his first seven batters en route to matching a career-high with nine strikeouts. Mariners manager Scott Servais said he thinks it's the best performance from a Mariners' starting pitcher this season.
• Complete dominance: Miranda stops Rays
"Miranda was on the top of his game," he said. "[It] was really fun to watch. Commanding the strike zone, really aggressive with the fastball and enough off-speed pitches to keep them honest."
Former Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was handed the loss, ceding four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The Rays, who fell to 29-30 after a nine-game road trip that saw them win series in Minnesota and Texas before hitting the roadblock in Seattle, managed one run after Daniel Robertson's routine fly ball was lost in the sun by Dyson in center field in the eighth inning, and Jesus Sucre plated him with an RBI groundout.
• Road-weary Rays ready to return home
"We didn't catch the ball, we didn't hit, and we definitely weren't pitching to our capability," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "So when those three go south on you, it's going to be pretty difficult to find a way to win a ballgame. I can't recall too many opportunities [where] we were even close."
Tampa Bay will now enjoy a rare day off -- the club had only one in the month of May -- before resuming its schedule at Tropicana Field.
The Mariners have won seven of their last eight games to improve to 28-30 on the season. The Mariners offense produced seven runs on 11 hits to cap off a prolific offensive series in which Seattle scored 28 runs in three games.
"From where we were about seven or eight days ago to be at point we are right now says a lot about our team," Servais said. "When things looked like they weren't going so good -- and they weren't -- I made the comment we were at rock bottom and our guys have responded, and I tip my cap to them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cruz sends another deep: Cruz crushed a two-run home run off Ramirez in the first inning, his second consecutive homer and 14th of the season, to provide the Mariners an early 2-0 lead. It was a 437-foot projected blast to straight away center field, according to Statcast™, and it was his longest projected home run of the season.
Zunino keeps raking: After knocking in a career-best seven runs Saturday, Zunino kept up his good fortunes at the plate, driving in two more runs with a single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. He's hitting .307 since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma after starting the season batting .167.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Danny Valencia recorded two hits in his first at-bats on Sunday, tying the Mariners' record for hits in consecutive at-bats with nine. He joined Raul Ibanez in accomplishing that feat, who did it in 2004. More >>
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Rays challenged a call on a foul ball off the bat of Steven Souza Jr. in the third inning. Souza's deep fly to left field landed in the seats beyond the foul pole and was originally ruled foul.
Rays: The Rays are off Monday but head back home Tuesday, where they will host the Chicago White Sox at 7:10 p.m. ET. Righty Chris Archer (4-3, 3.74 ERA) will get the ball against White Sox lefty ace Jose Quintana (2-7, 5.60 ERA).
Mariners: After an off-day on Monday, the Mariners host the Twins for a three-game series at Safeco Field starting Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. James Paxton (4-0, 1.26 ERA) is on the hill for Seattle and is coming off an impressive start in his first appearance since returning from the disabled list. The left-hander tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings to guide the Mariners to a 5-0 win over the Rockies on Wednesday.
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