SEATTLE -- For Ariel Miranda, it was a career game.
The Seattle left-hander pitched a four-hitter for his first career complete game and tied a career high with nine strikeouts Sunday afternoon as the Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1.
Miranda (6-2), a 28-year-old from Cuba, has won five consecutive decisions, another career high, to boost the Mariners' injury-ravaged starting rotation.
"We wouldn't be in a good spot without Ariel Miranda," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team completed a three-game sweep of the Rays and has won seven of eight since suffering back-to-back shutout losses in Boston.
Miranda wasn't even supposed to start the season in the major leagues. He was scheduled to be the opening day starter for Triple-A Tacoma before injuries brought him back to the bigs.
"It was not a good spring training. The results were not there," Miranda said through a translator.
"I was aggressive attacking the zone and it worked out," Miranda said. "I wasn't trying for a complete game ... hitter by hitter I got to the end."
Miranda's shutout bid ended in the eighth inning when Daniel Robertson led off with a fly ball that center fielder Jarrod Dyson lost in the sun. Unable to find it, Dyson turned his back at the last moment with the ball glancing off his left shoulder. Robertson reached third on the play and was credited with a triple.
Jesus Sucre's grounder with one out brought home Robertson for the Rays' only run.
Miranda didn't allow a hit until Kevin Kiermaier's infield single with one out in the fifth. Kiermaier hit a chopper to the right side of the infield, which first baseman Danny Valencia fielded and flipped to Miranda covering first. With Kiermaier racing down the line, Miranda tried to bare-hand the ball but dropped it.
"He had all four of his pitches going," said Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, who hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to give Seattle a 4-0 lead. "His splitter was very good and that's what he got a majority of his strikeouts with."
"We knew he had a good fastball with some life on it and that's kind of what showed up today," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the first inning, his 14th of the season, off Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez (3-1).
Seattle pulled away with three runs in the seventh, the key hit a two-run double down the right-field line by Dyson.
NOTES: Mariners 1B Danny Valencia singled in his first two at-bats Sunday to tie the franchise record with nine consecutive hits. Raul Ibanez set the mark in 2004. ... Rays LF Corey Dickerson went 0-for-4. It snapped his nine-game hitting streak and dropped his average to .336, behind injured Seattle shortstop Jean Segura (.341) for the American League lead. ... Seattle 2B Robinson Cano saw a potential run-scoring double turn into a groundout in the third inning. Cano hit a ball down the first-base line that got past Rays 1B Rickie Weeks Jr. but hit first-base umpire Gerry Davis. The ball bounced back toward Weeks, who picked it up and touched the base for the inning-ending out. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais celebrated his 50th birthday Sunday. ... The Mariners are off Monday but continue their 11-game homestand when the Minnesota Twins arrive for a three-game series starting Tuesday. LHP James Paxton (4-0, 1.26) is scheduled to start the opener for the M's. ... The Rays also get a day off and return home after going 4-5 on their nine-game trip. They open a three-game series against Chicago on Tuesday, with RHP Chris Archer (4-3, 3.74 ERA) set to face White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (2-7, 5.60).