SEATTLE (AP) - Andy Sonnanstine sounded a lot like Rays teammate James Shields did a night earlier.
``I feel like I never gave our team a chance to win tonight,' Sonnanstine said. ``Any time you are involved in a game like this it is frustrating.'
Sonnanstine gave up three homers and was roughed up for seven runs, and Seattle starter Jason Vargas threw the first shutout of his career in Seattle's 7-0 win over Tampa Bay on Friday night.
Justin Smoak hit his 10th homer of the season for Seattle in the first inning off Sonnanstine, but it was back-to-back homers by Adam Kennedy and Miguel Olivo in the fifth inning that did the most damage. Seattle put together a pair of three-run innings to hand the Rays their 10th loss in the last 14 games.
``Things are getting a little frustrating, but we've been here before, specifically the way we opened the season the way we did,' Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton said. ``I know at some point we will come out of it and things will start clicking again.'
Getting good starting pitching would be a start. A night after Shields gave up four homers to the light-hitting Mariners, Sonnanstine (0-2) allowed another three. The seven in the past two games for Seattle is 20 percent of its season total of 35.
Sonnanstine's trouble really started in the third when Seattle sent nine men to the plate, yet got just one hit in scoring three times. Carlos Peguero was hit by a pitch and Ichiro Suzkui walked. Brendan Ryan then tried a sacrifice bunt. Catcher John Jaso jumped on the bunt and threw to Evan Longoria at third, but Peguero got his foot on the bag before Longoria.
Smoak walked on a 3-2 pitch to score one, Jack Cust's RBI groundout scored another and after a line drive out and Kennedy's intentional walk, Olivo ripped a one-hopper that bounced away from Longoria to score another run.
Sonnanstine also looked as if he would get out of the fifth without harm, only to leave an 0-2 pitch over the plate to Kennedy, then making the same mistake to Olivo.
``He was doing well up until the Kennedy home run and the Olivo home run. If he would have gotten out of there at 4-0 it would have given up a better mental opportunity right there but 7-0 is obviously more difficult,' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``It kind of got away from us.'
Sonnanstine has allowed homers in each of his last five appearances and Tampa Bay is 0-4 in games he has started. It was the fifth time in his career he's allowed at least three homers in a game. He allowed 11 total home runs in 2010 and has given up 10 already this season.
``By the end of the day I have to throw strikes. I've always been a guy that can make in-game adjustments but tonight that wasn't the case,' Sonnanstine said.
While Sonnanstine struggled, Vargas was brilliant.
Only twice before the ninth did they get a baserunner to second - once on a wild pitch, the other a stolen base - and each were left stranded there. Vargas was helped by Franklin Gutierrez's running catch to end the sixth as he crashed into the wall in center field, robbing Ben Zobrist of extra bases and an RBI.
Vargas retired 16 of 17 during one stretch before Johnny Damon's one-out single in the ninth, the Rays first base hit since the fourth inning. Zobrist then followed with an infield single after Chone Figgins lost his footing along the third-base line. But Vargas got Evan Longoria to fly out and Matt Joyce to ground out to end it.
Vargas struck out four and walked one, throwing 115 pitches. He did give up some hard hit balls, but all stayed in the park.
``It was funny. I think the wind just swirls around and if you hit it at the right time you do and if not, you find yourself going back to the dugout,' Upton said.
NOTES: Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready performed the national anthem before Friday's game. ... Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, threw 55 pitches in four innings, giving up just one hit Friday. He's been on the DL since May 6 with a lower back strain. ... Suzuki went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .266.
Tim Booth can be reached at: http://twitter.com/tjbooth7
The Associated Press News Service
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