ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Doug Waechter celebrated his
mother's birthday in grand fashion.
Waechter became the first Tampa Bay pitcher to throw a shutout
in his first major league start, leading the Devil Rays over the
Seattle Mariners 7-0 Wednesday night with a two-hitter.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella
said. "The kid went after them. Just outstanding. You couldn't
have scripted this thing better."
The loss dropped the Mariners into a tie with Boston in the AL
wild-card race. Seattle remained two games behind first-place
Oakland in the AL West.
Waechter (2-0), who threw just 100 pitches, went to high school
four miles from Tropicana Field and pitched in front of more than
100 friends and family members. Among those in attendance was his
mother, Nancy Waechter, who celebrated her birthday at the
"I was a lucky kid, but I never thought all this would come
together at once," Waechter said. "I can't explain it. It's a
Waechter's mother also saw her son throw a no-hitter for Class-A
Hudson Valley in 2000.
"She's been good luck so far," Waechter said.
Waechter won his only other major league appearance, pitching 2
1/3 scoreless innings in an 8-4 win at Seattle on Aug. 27.
"He pitched with a lot of emotion out there," Seattle manager
Bob Melvin said. "He pitched a whale of a game."
Waechter is the first pitcher to throw a shutout in his first
start since Detroit's Andy Van Hekken against Cleveland -- exactly
one year earlier.
Aubrey Huff hit his 28th homer for the Devil Rays, who won for
just the third time in 13 games -- all three against Seattle.
"I'll tell you what ... that was the funnest game of the year
for me," Huff said. "You got a crowd with a hometown boy here
getting into it. It just makes it that much more fun to play
Huff went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs. He has homered in
eight of his past 12 games.
Seattle starter Freddy Garcia (11-13) allowed five runs and
seven hits over five innings. He had been 6-0 against Tampa Bay.
Travis Lee's sacrifice fly put the Devil Rays ahead in the
first. Huff hit a three-run homer in the third, giving him nine
RBI in three games.
Garcia has allowed 31 homers, four short of Scott Bankhead's
team record set in 1987.
Lee had an RBI double in the fifth that made it 5-0.
Seattle didn't have a runner reach second until putting runners
on first and second with one out in the sixth. Shortstop Julio Lugo
then started an inning-ending double play by lunging to his left to
grab Edgar Martinez's hard-hit grounder behind second base.
"The one time we had a chance to battle back, they make a great
play on Edgar and turn it into a double play," Melvin said.
Rocco Baldelli and Huff hit RBI singles in the sixth.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4 and has just three hits in
his past 35 at-bats, dropping his average to .316.
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts briefly talked with
Waechter after the game. "I enjoyed that very much," Roberts
said. ... Tampa Bay started play in 1998. ... Justin Klemm replaced
injured umpire John Hirschbeck, who left Tuesday's game with a
bruised lower left rib cage. Hirschbeck was hit a foul tip. Klemm's
controversial call on Moises Alou's ball down the line Tuesday
night angered the Chicago Cubs in their 2-0 loss to St. Louis. ...
Mariners closer Shigetoshi Hasegawa was not available after
throwing 50 pitches over two innings en route to picking up the win
in Tuesday's 10-8, 11-inning Seattle victory. ... Huff has a
12-game hitting streak, batting .479 with eight homers and 21 RBI
over the stretch.