Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays 5, M’s 4: How ‘bout that bullpen
Posted May 3, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 3, 2012 at 12:23 AM
ST. PETERSBURG Remember when the Rays bullpen was getting torched in Boston? Now, the unit has turned into one of the Rays biggest strengths.
Three innings of scoreless ball helped the Rays beat the Mariners 5-4 on Wednesday.
The biggest contribution came from Joel Peralta, who matched his season-longest outing by picking up the final five outs.
In the last 10 games, the Rays bullpen is 2-0 with five saves and a 1.45 ERA. They’ve allowed 21 hits, five runs, five walks and struck out 39 in 31 innings during that span.
That’s one reason the Rays were able to win nine of those 10 games.
J.P. Howell turned in his seventh straight scoreless outing Wednesday. In fact, nine of Howell’s 10 appearances this season have been scoreless.
Wade Davis faced two batters in the eighth inning and gave up a hit. Only a strong throw from left fielder Matt Joyce prevented Ichiro Suzuki from scoring from second base with the tying run.
The heavy lifting was done by Peralta, who became the first Ray not named Fernando Rodney to recorded a save this season.
It was Peralta’s 10th straight scoreless outing. In his first four appearances of the year, Peralta allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. He has not allowed an inherited runner to score in his last six appearances after allowing five of eight to score during his first eight outings.
Here are some odds and ends culled from the Rays postgame notes from Wednesday’s win …
—James Shields remained undefeated and won his AL-best fifth game by striking out a season-high 11, including 10 through the first four innings, which tied David Price for the most strikeouts through 10 frames in team history. Price did it Aug. 28 at Toronto when he struck out a franchise-record 14.
The Rays have won the last 10 games at the Trop started by Shields, and Shields is 8-0 during the streak. The Rays have won 14 of Shields’s last 17 starts.
—Jose Molina drove in two runs with a fourth inning double. He reached on an infield single in the third inning to snap an 0-for-10. Wednesday was his first multi-hit game of the season.
Four of Molina’s 10 hits this season are doubles, which are as many doubles as Desmond Jennings (2) and B.J. Upton (2) have combined.
—Luke Scott tied Joyce for the team lead in homers with six.
—Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the third inning. It was his second homer of the year and just his second extra-base hit of the year.
—The Rays have won seven straight against the M’s, dating back to July 31, their longest winning streak against the Mariners.
—Ichiro Suzuki set a Mariners record with 10 putouts in right field. It was one shy off the record for putouts by a right fielder in nine innings, set in 1982 by Oakland’s Tony Armas.
—The Rays have won five consecutive series. They have won four straight games, 10 of 11 and 12 of their last 14.
—The four-game series concludes today with a 1:10 p.m. start.