Tampa Bay tries to extend its winning streak over Seattle to nine as these teams open a three-game set Friday night.
One of seven clubs within two games of each other in the wild card standings, the Rays (48-45) salvaged a four-game split against Cleveland with Thursday's 6-0 win. Luke Scott hit his 12th homer, B.J. Upton had three hits and three RBIs, and David Price posted his fifth straight winning decision by throwing seven strong innings.
"They've done a very good job for me this year of scoring runs early and I appreciate it," Price said. "Honestly I feel like we've played our best baseball when I've been on the mound."
The Rays have also been formidable against the Mariners of late, outscoring them 42-20 during an eight-game winning streak in the series. Tampa Bay has also taken 11 of 12 from Seattle at home, including a four-game sweep April 30-May 3.
The Mariners (40-54), though, arrive in town playing well after taking three of four at Kansas City. Seattle hit eight homers and scored 31 runs in the series versus the Royals, winning 6-1 on Thursday.
"I thought it was a great series overall," manager Eric Wedge said. "I loved the way we played, a total team effort. You talk about a vision the way you want your team to play and how you want to go out there and play major league baseball and this is about it. This is what we're looking for."
The Mariners will try to keep things going against James Shields (8-6, 4.44 ERA), who's gone 1-2 with a 6.54 ERA and .371 opponent batting average over his last five starts, giving up at least 10 hits in each of his last four outings.
"It's a matter of just executing my pitches and going deep into the game and getting a win," Shields, whose 146 hits allowed are the most in baseball, told MLB's official website. "I'm moving on and just trying to stay positive and keep grinding it out. My job right now is to go out there and get some wins, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Shields yielded four runs - one earned - and struck out a season-high 11 over six innings of a 5-4 win over the Mariners on May 2, improving to 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA over 12 career outings in this series. He had allowed 20 runs over his previous three starts spanning 17 1-3 innings versus Seattle.
The Mariners counter with rookie Hisashi Iwakuma (1-2, 5.13), who's gone 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA over two outings since moving to the rotation. The right-hander gave up four runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings of Sunday's 4-0 loss to Texas.
"I think he's built up to be a starter in regard to pitch count and where he's at, and hopefully he can take advantage of that and be efficient enough to get us late in the ballgame," Wedge said. "He's one of our five starters now, and hopefully he's going to come out there strong and give us a chance to win."
|July 18, 2012||Charlie Furbush||15-Day DL||Strained left triceps|
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|July 02, 2012||Hideki Matsui||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|June 30, 2012||Jeremy Hellickson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right shin|
|June 29, 2012||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|June 20, 2012||Matt Joyce||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 20, 2012||Matt Joyce||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Joyce||Day-to-Day||Flu|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Carlos Pena isn't the fastest runner, but after squandering several opportunities he represented Tampa Bay's best chance to end a long night against the Seattle Mariners .
Pena scored from first base on Ben Zobrist 's 14th-inning double down the right field line, sliding across home plate just ahead of Ichiro Suzuki 's throw to give the Rays a 4-3 victory Friday.
"With the ball being where it was and with Ichiro out there, I didn't think we had much of a chance," Zobrist said.
But Suzuki's throw was off line and missed the cutoff man, forcing catcher Jesus Montero to field the ball on the first base side of the plate.
Montero scrambled to get into position to make the tag, but Pena just got in under it.
"Missing the cutoff permitted that to happen," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We got very fortuitous that particular moment."
The Rays went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded the potential tying runs in those situations in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings.
B.J. Upton homered and drove two runs for Tampa Bay.
Pena singled off Tom Wilhelmsen with one out in the 14th, and Zobrist followed with his third hit of the game.
"It's kind of a relief when you win a game like that," said Zobrist, who walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
Jake McGee (3-2) pitched two-thirds of an inning to escape a jam in the top of the 14th and got the win. The run off Wilhelmsen (3-2) ended the reliever's streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings over 20 appearances.
Carlos Peguero hit his third homer in five career at-bats off James Shields , a two-run shot that gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead in the seventh. He went deep twice against the Rays right-hander at Safeco Field on June 2, 2011 and hadn't homered in a major league game since hitting one against the Miami Marlins later that month.
Upton homered off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma in the sixth inning, then drove in a second run with an infield single to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
Shields allowed three runs and four hits over 7 2-3 innings, ending a stretch of four consecutive starts in which he yielded at least 10 hits - the longest such streak in the AL since Dan Haren did it with Oakland in 2007. No Rays pitcher had done it since Tanyon Sturtze in 2002.
Rays pitchers combined to strike out 17. Six relievers held the Mariners to one hit over the final 6 1-3 innings.
Meanwhile, eight Seattle pitchers fanned 15. The Rays had three hits after Upton tied it in the seventh.
"We just weren't able to get anything going offensively in extra innings," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Our pitching staff did a great job."
Suzuki tripled and Casper Wells doubled to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the first. Shields hit a batter and walked Kyle Seager to load the bases before escaping further damage by striking out Justin Smoak .
Shields settled down after the shaky beginning to retire 12 straight after the walk to Seager with two outs in the first. The Mariners didn't have another runner until shortstop Sean Rodriguez mishandled Dustin Ackley 's ground ball for an error with two outs in the fifth.
Iwakuma held the Rays scoreless through five innings before giving up two runs in the sixth on Upton's ninth homer and Jeff Keppinger 's two-out RBI hit that deflected off third baseman Seager's glove to briefly put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1.
Seattle regained the lead with the first hits off Shields since the first inning. Seager singled leading off the seventh, and Peguaro followed with first homer since being promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on July 5.
Shields allowed fewer than four runs in a game for the first time since giving up three runs and eight hits over 7 2-3 innings while also not being involved in the decision of a Tampa Bay loss to Miami on June 16. He walked two and struck out 10 before being replaced by Joel Peralta with two outs and a runner on first base in the eighth.
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth and 10th for the Rays.
Notes: Upton turns 28 on Aug. 21. The center fielder needs one more homer before his birthday to join Rickey Henderson , Barry Bonds , Bobby Bonds , Cesar Cedeno , Lloyd Moseby , Eric Davis and Hanley Ramirez as the only players to amass 100 homers and 200 steals before age 28. ... Seattle RHP Erasmo Ramirez (right elbow) is scheduled for a simulated game Saturday and could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment. ... Mariners INF Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) is with the team and working out. ... Rays OF Sam Fuld , who hasn't played this season while recovering from right wrist surgery, may be close to returning from a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Durham.