|Tampa Bay (17-8) «||0||0||2||2||0||1||0||0||x||5||8||0|
Sean Rodriguez and Luke Scott hit home runs for the AL East leaders, and Shields (5-0) weathered a rocky first inning to remain unbeaten with a 5-4 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
Joel Peralta came out of the bullpen to shut down a Seattle threat in the eighth, then worked a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
"He picked up a real big-league save there with five outs. That was spectacular," manager Joe Maddon said. "Hats off to Joel Peralta. Everything else that happened well or good tonight, it was all about him. He permitted us to win the game."
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Shields allowed four runs and five hits, walked four and struck out 11 in six innings to win his sixth consecutive decision over two seasons, matching the longest winning streak of his career. Kyle Seager hit two home runs off the 2011 All-Star, driving in all of Seattle's runs.
Over Tampa Bay's past 10 games, the bullpen is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA, 39 strikeouts and five saves. Opponents have 21 hits and scored five earned runs in 31 innings during the stretch.
"We fought until the last out of the game. That's what our team is about, and what we've been doing all season," Shields said. "And again, our bullpen was phenomenal."
Rodriguez hit a two-run homer off Blake Beavan (1-4) in the third inning. Scott's solo shot off the Seattle starter glanced off center fielder Michael Saunders' glove before clearing the wall to snap a 4-4 tie in the sixth.
"To be honest, I don't really know what happened there," Saunders said. "I know I got a piece of the ball. That's it. ... It was just one of those plays that happened so fast. I hit the wall and came down without the ball."
The Rays won for the 10th time in 11 games. The Mariners have lost a season-high five straight following a four-game winning streak that included a sweep of Detroit to begin a 10-game, 10-day trip that ends Thursday.
Ichiro Suzuki walked and Jesus Montero reached base on an infield single before Seager's three-run, first-inning home run snapped an 0-for-30 drought with runners in scoring position for the Mariners, who lost the first two games of this four-game series despite outhitting the Rays both nights.
Seager's third home run of the season, a solo shot into the right-field stands, wiped out a 4-3 lead the Rays took on Jose Molina's two-run double in the fourth.
Shields won again, though he was far from his best. Despite posting a season high for strikeouts, his four walks also were a season high and the right-hander allowed a pair of homers for the second straight start. He threw 38 pitches in the first inning -- 119 overall -- before turning over a one-run lead to the bullpen.
Peralta got Alex Liddi to foul out on a 3-2 pitch, then Ben Zobrist made a nice running catch in the right field corner on Justin Smoak's fly ball to shut down the Mariners with the potential tying run on third base in the eighth. With closer Fernando Rodney unavailable because he pitched three consecutive days, Peralta fanned two of three batters in the ninth to pick up his ninth career save.
"Shields usually gives us eight or nine innings. Today he didn't," Peralta said. "The bullpen felt like we've had to back him up, keep the lead and get that win for him."
|James Shields strikes out 11 in six innings of four-run ball to notch his AL-leading fifth victory. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Chone Figgins, LF||5||0||0||0||0||3||0||.198|
|Dustin Ackley, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.231|
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||3||1||2||0||1||1||0||.312|
|Jesus Montero, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.292|
|Kyle Seager, 3B||4||2||3||4||0||1||0||.300|
|Alex Liddi, 1B||2||0||1||0||2||0||2||.295|
|Justin Smoak, DH||3||0||0||0||1||1||4||.184|
|Michael Saunders, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.241|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||3||0||0||0||0||3||2||.125|
|a- Mike Carp, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Ryan in the 9th|
|HR - Kyle Seager 2 (3, Shields, Shields)|
|RBI - Kyle Seager 4 (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Kyle Seager 3 (6)|
|PK - Dustin Ackley (2, Howell)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|PB - Jesus Montero (3)|
|E - Alex Liddi (2, Misplayed grounder)|
|Blake Beavan (L,1-3)||5.1||7||5||5||2||1||2||4.45|
|Pitches-Strikes - Blake Beavan 86-51, Erasmo Ramirez 15-9, Charlie Furbush 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Blake Beavan 6-9, Erasmo Ramirez 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Blake Beavan 25, Erasmo Ramirez 4, Charlie Furbush 6|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF-CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.258|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B-RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.200|
|Matt Joyce, RF-LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.293|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.270|
|Luke Scott, DH||4||2||2||1||0||0||1||.275|
|B.J. Upton, CF||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Elliot Johnson, SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.148|
|Will Rhymes, 3B-2B||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.500|
|Jose Molina, C||4||1||2||2||0||0||0||.213|
|Sean Rodriguez, SS-3B||3||1||1||2||0||0||1||.188|
|2B - Jose Molina (4, Beavan)|
|HR - Luke Scott (6, Beavan), Sean Rodriguez (2, Beavan)|
|RBI - Luke Scott (19), Jose Molina 2 (3), Sean Rodriguez 2 (7)|
|SB - Desmond Jennings (7, 2nd base off Beavan/Montero)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Rhymes-Johnson-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|James Shields (W,5-0)||6||5||4||4||4||11||2||3.70|
|J.P. Howell (H,2)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||2.08|
|Wade Davis (H,4)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.25|
|Joel Peralta (S,1)||1.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||5.56|
|WP - Wade Davis (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 119-73, J.P. Howell 17-10, Wade Davis 10-6, Joel Peralta 27-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 5-1, Joel Peralta 1-2|
|Batters Faced - James Shields 26, J.P. Howell 4, Wade Davis 2, Joel Peralta 5|
|Attendance - 9837|
|Game Time - 3:10|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Al Porter, Third Base - Ron Kulpa|