SEATTLE (AP) — Erasmo Ramirez turned in a dominant performance Monday night. Unfortunately for the Seattle Mariners, he remains in search of his first major league win.
Ramirez had a career-high 10 strikeouts over eight sparkling innings, but Seattle was shut down by Tommy Milone in a 1-0 to the Oakland Athletics.
Seth Smith belted a first-pitch fastball from Ramirez (0-2) over the wall in center with one out in the second inning for the game’s only run. The rookie right-hander held the A’s to three hits and walked one while throwing 103 pitches.
“You saw a complete performance by a young starting pitcher today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He has something now he will really work off of.”
Milone (8-5) made the most of Smith’s eighth homer of the season, allowing seven hits and striking out five in his second straight superb outing. The left-hander threw the first complete game by a rookie in the majors this season in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers last Wednesday. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings.
Grant Balfour got three outs and Ryan Cook finished the seven-hitter for his fifth save in seven opportunities.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed by Ramirez.
“Looking at some of his counts, how he pitched in his previous games, he pitched a lot differently,” Melvin said. “He seemed a little more predictable in his previous games. Behind in the count, here comes a heater. Ahead in the count, here comes the breaking ball. He pitched backward tonight.
“He pitched that well tonight. I’m not thinking we had a bad approach. He pitched that well, and dominated.”
The 22-year-old Ramirez, a native of Rivas. Nicaragua, made the club out of spring training and appeared in seven games out of the bullpen. He was sent to Triple-A Tacoma on May 5 to prepare for the rotation. He was recalled June 14 and made his third start Monday night.
“He’s throwing 96, 97 with all four (pitches),” A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “He was throwing strikes, using his off-speed stuff well. He was a tough at-bat tonight against righties and lefties. He was tough.”
Milone didn’t have quite as good numbers but was just as tough when he needed to be.
The Mariners had runners on first and third with two out in the first but Milone got Justin Smoak to bounce out to first to end the inning.
Seattle put two runners on in the fourth but Miguel Olivo grounded into a double play to end the inning.
“This guy Milone was throwing the ball perfect,” Olivo said. “He was putting the ball on the corners really good. Corners in, fastball outside. Changeup really good.”
Milone, acquired in an offseason trade with Washington, is the first Athletics rookie to earn eight wins before the All-Star break. He had been in a tie with Rick Langford for rookie wins before the break. Langford had seven in 1977.
“You never know what’s going on inside,” Melvin said. “He’s very unemotional. With guys on base, he never looks like he’s got any trepidation. He knows the situations. He knows when to pitch down. He’s got a very good knowledge of what he can do. Kurt also helps him out quite a bit.”
Seattle has been shut out nine times this season. It was the 50th 1-0 loss in club history. The Mariners have lost 10 of 15 and gone 23 innings without scoring a run.
Oakland tossed its eighth shutout and won for the 10th time in 13 games.
NOTES: The Mariners bullpen was 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA and had converted six straight save chances in the club’s previous 20 games, since June 2. Seattle relievers tossed two more scoreless innings on Monday. … Melvin said OFs Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes are worthy of consideration for the All-Star game. The A’s haven’t had an All-Star position player chosen since 2003. … Melvin plans to start Cespedes, who has had hamstring issues, in left field on Tuesday. He was the designated hitter on Monday.