Mike Zunino hit his first grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Seattle Mariners to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
Zunino, sent down to Triple-A Tacoma for two weeks in May after struggling offensively, had a two-run double in the second, an RBI single in the fourth, and capped a five-run fifth with his slam that put the Mariners up 9-1.
Rookie right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1) allowed one run – a homer by Corey Dickerson to lead off the game – and four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked none in his fourth start since being called up May 10.
Alex Cobb (4-5) was rocked for nine runs and 14 hits in five innings.
Nelson Cruz had three hits, including a solo homer, and Danny Valencia had four singles and scored three times for the Mariners, who won for the sixth time in seven games.
The Mariners erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the second on Valencia’s RBI single and Zunino’s two-run double to the gap in right-center.
Seattle made it 4-1 in the fourth on singles by Valencia, Taylor Motter and Zunino. The Mariners failed to add on when Motter was out at home attempting to score from third on a ball that initially got away from catcher Derek Norris.
Cruz got Seattle’s five-run fifth started with his 13th homer, a one-out solo shot to left. The Mariners loaded the bases on a single by Valencia, a walk to Motter and Jarrod Dyson‘s bunt single. Zunino, who had five RBIs in 103 at-bats before Saturday, then drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left for his second homer.
Logan Morrison hit a solo homer in the ninth for the Rays, his 16th.
3B Evan Longoria, who left Friday’s game with neck stiffness, was back in the lineup, batting third. Longoria had three singles Saturday before coming out after the sixth inning. … Norris limped off after flying out to center field in the eighth and was replaced behind the plate by Jesus Sucre.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-0, 3.66) starts the finale of the three-game series Sunday at Safeco Field against the Mariners. Ramirez, making his fifth start, lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start, allowing four runs on six hits after pitching an inning in relief the previous day.
Mariners: LHP Ariel Miranda (5-2, 4.17), originally slated to start the season at Triple-A, has provided much-needed reliability to the injury-ravaged rotation. He has allowed only six earned runs in 22 innings in his last four starts.