Published May 03, 2016
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez tossed his second shutout of the season and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning to help the Seattle Mariners sweep the Tampa Bay Rays with a 3-0 win on Wednesday.
Hernandez (8-1) finished with eight strikeouts and allowed just four hits and one walk to help the Mariners complete their first three-game sweep of the Rays in St. Petersburg since Sept. 18-20, 2000.
"Just an outstanding outing," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We're pitching, playing defense ... We are starting to hit our stride."
The Seattle ace improved to 8-0 over his last 12 day starts, but his counterpart was equally up to the task.
Chris Archer cruised through eight innings, surrendering just two hits and tying a career high with 12 strikeouts. He needed just six pitches to get through the eighth, but was relieved by Brad Boxberger (2-3) despite throwing just 95 pitches.
After striking out Mike Zunino and Austin Jackson, Boxberger issued walks to Seth Smith and Robinson Cano, who scored when Cruz crushed a 1-0 fastball to right-center.
"I was trying to go fastball down and away," said Boxberger. "I left it up to a guy who can obviously hit the ball a long way."
Hernandez returned to the mound and fired a 1-2-3 final frame to nail down his second complete game of the season.
The Rays mustered just two runners in scoring position during their fifth straight loss.
Hernandez recorded his 25th career complete game and 11th shutout... Archer also threw 12 strikeouts against Texas on Aug. 13, 2014 ... Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the foot during the sixth ... The Mariners swept the Rays at home on Aug. 7-9, 2006.