The Tampa Bay Rays are one victory away from making franchise history.
The first-place Rays look to set a club record for wins while trying to secure a series victory in the conclusion of a four-game road set with the lowly Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
Tampa Bay (70-46) outlasted pesky Seattle 8-7 in 11 innings on Saturday night to tie Lou Piniella’s 2004 club for the most wins in franchise history after that group finished 70-91.
Though the Rays have had their hands full against Seattle (45-72) - owner of the AL’s worst record - in this series, they have won two in a row and nine of their last 11 overall and remain 3 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
Dioner Navarro’s sacrifice fly in the 11th was the game winner Saturday for the Rays, who trailed 5-1 before scoring six runs in the sixth inning before allowing the Mariners to score a pair and tie the game in eighth.
Tampa Bay has won two of three to open its 10-game road trip while improving to 25-29 on the road, compared to its major-league leading 45-17 home mark.
“Coming into this last two months of the year, we’re playing on the road a lot, so we have to start playing as well on the road as we have at home,” center fielder B.J. Upton told the Rays’ official Web site.
Akinori Iwamura had three hits, while Carl Crawford and Upton had two RBIs each for Tampa Bay, which won 5-3 on Friday after dropping the series opener 2-1 on Thursday. Crawford extended his hitting streak to 11 games, in which he’s batting .349 (15-for-43) with nine RBIs during that span.
Third baseman Evan Longoria is expected to miss his third straight game Sunday with a sore right wrist, but hopes to play Tuesday at Oakland.
While the Rays try to secure their inevitable place in franchise history, Edwin Jackson (8-7, 4.22 ERA) looks for his fourth straight victory Sunday. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-4 win over Cleveland on Tuesday.
Though the right-hander has a perfect record in his last three starts, he hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in each contest. Jackson was strong in his only outing versus Seattle, allowing two hits in eight innings of a 7-0 victory on April 10.
Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-6 with three RBIs on Saturday for Seattle, which dropped to 4-5 on its 10-game homestand. Suzuki has hit safely in 15 straight games, batting .394 (26-for-66) with eight runs driven in during that stretch. He is 10-for-27 against Tampa Bay this season.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-6, 4.36) takes the mound for the Mariners looking for his second straight winning decision. He didn’t factor in his last decision, though, despite allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings of an 8-7 win over Minnesota on Tuesday.
“I kept us in the ballgame. I put up a quality start,” Dickey told the Mariners’ official Web site.
The right-hander, who started the season coming out of the bullpen, is 2-6 with a 5.37 ERA in 11 starts this season and allowed five runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay in 2004 while with Texas.
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