The Mariners look to record back-to-back wins for the first time this month on Thursday night when they open a four-game series against the Devil Rays.
Rookie Adam Jones led off the eighth inning with a pinch-hit solo homer, and Yuniesky Betancourt singled home Charlton Jimerson with two outs in the ninth, lifting the Mariners a 6-5 win over Oakland on Wednesday.
“He’s got a chance to be a really great player,” Mariners manager John McLaren said of Jones. “That was an impressive at-bat.”
It was only the third win in 18 games for the Mariners (76-68), who haven’t won two in a row since Aug. 23-24.
“Hopefully this is a wake-up call, and we can start winning games from here on,” Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen said.
Seattle is 6 1/2 games behind the wild card-leading New York Yankees with 18 games remaining. The Yankees have won seven straight and are a major league-best 40-19 since the All-Star break.
Sexson, who has played only two games this month, was diagnosed with tendinitis in his right hamstring, near his hip. Sexson has been told not to do anything for the next 10 days, but could return for the last week of the regular season.
The Mariners have won seven of their last eight home games against Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay (61-85) squandered a 4-0 lead, one night after wasting an 8-1 cushion in a 16-10 loss.
A victory in either game would’ve moved the Devil Rays out of last place in the AL East while giving them their first series win at Fenway Park since 1999. Tampa Bay, which has won 13 of its last 19 games, finished better than last only once in its 10-year history in 2004.
Hit hard in his last two starts, Jeff Weaver (6-12, 6.05 ERA) looks to rebound for Seattle. The right-hander gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings of a 12-6 loss Saturday at Detroit.
Since his last win at Texas on Aug. 23, Weaver has surrendered 15 earned runs and 25 hits in three starts over 12 1-3 innings. He has failed to pitch past the fifth seven times this season.
Weaver is 3-8 with a 5.16 ERA in 16 starts against the Devil Rays, last beating them on Sept. 18, 2002, with the Yankees.
Jason Hammel (2-4, 6.57) looks to build on one of his best starts of the season. The second-year right-hander limited Toronto to two runs and five hits over six innings on Saturday, but didn’t receive a decision in the Devil Rays’ 5-4 come-from-behind victory. It was the second consecutive solid performance for Hammel, who pitched five strong innings in an 8-2 victory at Yankee Stadium in his previous start.
This will be his first appearance against the Mariners.