Nelson Cruz looks to follow up another big night and extend his hitting streak to 11 games as the Seattle Mariners aim for a fourth consecutive victory when they visit the struggling Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Cruz launched the longest home run in Tropicana Field history with a 482-foot blast as the Mariners rolled over the Rays 7-1 in the opener of a three-game series Friday night.
Cruz boasts 16 hits, including six homers, and 14 RBIs during his 10-game streak and reached 30 blasts for the fourth straight season - fifth overall - Friday as Seattle moved within one-half game of the American League’s second wild-card. Ariel Miranda hopes to duplicate his performance against Tampa Bay on June 4 when he pitched his first career complete game in a victory and will face Jake Odorizzi, who was pounded for eight runs (three earned) over 2 1/3 innings by the Mariners two days earlier. The Rays continue to struggle with the bats as they lost for the 11th time in 14 games Friday, scoring just 24 runs total during that stretch while going 8-for-82 with runners in scoring position. The good news for Tampa Bay was that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier returned to the lineup after missing more than two months with a hip injury, recording a double and scoring the lone run.
TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, ROOT Northwest (Seattle), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH Ariel Miranda (7-6, 4.75 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 4.30)
Miranda is winless in his last seven starts, losing for the second time in that stretch Sunday when he allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels. The 28-year-old Cuban completed six innings just once in his last seven outings after accomplishing the feat eight of his first 17 starts in 2017. Daniel Robertson had a triple against Miranda when he gave up one run, four hits and issued one walk in the earlier meeting - his first versus the Rays.
Odorizzi battled to get through six innings Monday while permitting two runs on three hits and three walks but lost for the second straight time since returning from the disabled list. The 27-year-old Illinois native threw at least 110 pitches for the fifth time this season in his last start and did not complete seven innings in any of those. Danny Valencia is 3-for-10 with two homers versus Odorizzi, who is 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA in five career games against Seattle.
1. Tampa Bay OF/DH Corey Dickerson is batting .211 since playing in the All-Star Game after he hit .312 in the first half.
2. Seattle 3B Kyle Seager returned from missing two games with a stomach virus Friday and became the 10th player in club history to reach 500 RBIs.
3. Rays C Wilson Ramos is 9-for-16 with two homers in his last five contests while teammate C Jesus Sucre has hit safely in five straight.
PREDICTION: Rays 5, Mariners 3