SEATTLE — Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough had mixed emotions following the most impressive start of his young career.
The former Mariners minor leaguer came within an out of his first career shutout, and did it against his former team. Yet after 8 2/3 sparkling innings Sunday, he also felt miffed at manager Kevin Cash for pulling him from Tampa Bay’s 1-0 victory over Seattle.
“Obviously I’m a little angry, but I would think he would want me to be,” Yarbrough said.
Eric Sogard hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and Yarbrough (11-3) made it stand. He retired his final 14 batters and struck out eight in the longest outing of his career. He was replaced after 99 pitches by Emilio Pagan for the final out. Pagan retired pinch-hitter Omar Narvaez on a grounder for his third save of the series and 12th overall.
The Rays — well known for their creative and aggressive bullpen usage — hadn’t had a pitcher throw a complete game since May 2016, and Yarbrough was just the second starter to work into the ninth in that span.
“That’s really not the story,” Cash said. “The story is how dominating he is.”
Tampa Bay has won 10 of 12 and remains in position for the second AL wild card. The Rays have won seven straight road games, one shy of the team record set in July 2014, and swept the three-game set after losing their previous nine games in Seattle.
The Mariners failed to advance a runner past first base. In the game’s most tense moment, Yarbrough struck out power-hitting pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach on a 3-2 count in the eighth — just his third three-ball count of the game.
“I wasn’t going to give into him or anything like that at 3-2,” Yarbrough said. “I have confidence in my breaking ball, and obviously it was right where I needed it to be.”
The M’s also got strong pitching from opener Sam Tuivailala and bulk innings pitcher Wade LeBlanc (6-6). Tuivailala retired the side in the first inning with a strikeout and LeBlanc pitched six innings, striking out three.
His only mistake came in the fourth inning, when he allowed Sogard’s 13th home run of the season.
Great defense also helped send the Mariners to their third straight loss and eighth in their last nine.
Former Mariner Mike Zunino threw out Dee Gordon attempting to steal second base in the second inning.
Then the Rays really amped it up with shortstop Willy Adames making a great throw across his body to catch speedster Mallex Smith at first in the sixth inning on a play that was reversed by replay.
Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez threw out the first pitch a day after Mariners CEO John Stanton announced the club will unveil a statue of the longtime designated hitter at T-Mobile Park.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell will begin his rehabilitation from left elbow surgery when Tampa Bay arrives in San Diego on Monday by playing catch. The starter, who was 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA before the arthroscopic procedure to clean out “loose bodies,” could rejoin the rotation later this season, though manager Kevin Cash said it’s too early to project his return. He went to the injured list July 22. ... OF Tommy Pham is playing with an injured right hand, though he will remain in the lineup, Cash said.
Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez will make a start at Class A Everett later this week in his return from a strained right lat. After that, he’ll need a start at Triple-A before he can make his return to the rotation, manager Scott Servais said. That likely means Hernandez won’t be available next Saturday in Toronto when the Mariners next need a fifth starter. They’ve been using a four-man rotation since Mike Leake was traded to the Diamondbacks. Servais said the team could use the bullpen to fill in Saturday. ... OF Mitch Haniger (testicle surgery) will start a rehab assignment Tuesday in Modesto.
Rays: RHP Diego Castillo (2-6, 3.50 ERA) will get the start Monday in San Diego.
Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 5.34 ERA) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when Seattle visits Detroit on Tuesday after an off day Monday.