ST. PETERSBURG -- Second baseman Robinson Cano hit a two-run double, and made a key defensive play to lead the Seattle Mariners to a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
For Seattle (34-29), it was their eighth victory in its last nine games, including taking three of four from the reeling Rays in their wraparound series.
The Rays (24-41), who boast the worst record in baseball, tried something different to cure their ills, having lost 13 of their last 14. Manager Joe Maddon invited a medicine man, Bobby Henry of the Seminole Tribe, on Monday as a special guest, hoping to bring some good vibes.
But it didn't work. Ace left-hander David Price allowed three runs in the third inning -- the 41st time this season the Rays gave up three runs in an inning -- which proved the difference.
Mariners designated hitter John Buck led off with a single, and first baseman Willie Bloomquist added another with one out. Center fielder James Jones put down a perfect drag bunt, which turned into a single as no Ray was covering first. Cano followed with a two-run double to put Seattle up 2-0.
Price (4-6) ended up with a strong outing, scattering seven hits and striking out 10 in eight innings, but got little help from his offense in front of 10,400.
The Rays, shut out for the eighth time Sunday, didn't muster much against Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who wiggled his way out of trouble in 4 2/3 shutout innings. Ramirez got into a jam in the third, with the Rays putting two on with two out, but second baseman Ben Zobrist grounded out to thwart the threat. Then, in the fourth, the Rays put runners on first and second with no outs, but Ramirez struck out shortstop Yunel Escobar and catcher Jose Molina.
Then, Cano made the game's best defensive play, racing up the middle to grab a slow chopper by Desmond Jennings, then throwing out the speedy center fielder at first. Maddon used his challenge, but the call was upheld via instant replay, ending the inning.
In the fifth, the Rays once again put two on with two outs, chasing Ramirez, who was charged with five walks and four hits. But Mariners lefty reliever Joel Beimel came in and struck out pinch hitter Jerry Sands to end it.
Ex-Rays closer Fernando Rodney came in and picked up his second save of the series against his former team.
NOTES: Rays RHP Grant Balfour is no longer the team's closer, as they will go to a closer-by-committee, manager Joe Maddon said. ... Mariners OF Michael Saunders (right shoulder) didn't play for the third straight game but is expected to return soon. ... Mariners 1B Ji-Man Choi was activated from suspended list after completing 50-game drug ban and assigned to Double-A. LHP James Paxton went to to 60-day DL.