The Seattle Mariners go for a sweep of the season series and attempt to extend their winning streak to five games overall when they visit the slumping Tampa Bay Rays for the finale of a three-game set Sunday afternoon. The Mariners have outscored the Rays 42-14 while winning all five matchups this year after holding on for a 7-6 victory Saturday and are winners of nine of last 11 meetings at Tampa Bay.
Nelson Cruz is also hoping to continue his hot streak for Seattle after belting his seventh homer and knocking in his 16th run during an 11-game hitting streak Saturday - and is 12-for-20 against the Rays in 2017. Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo hopes to keep it going for the Mariners, who sit one-half game out in the race for the American League’s second wild-card, while Tampa Bay counters with rejuvenated left-hander Blake Snell. The Rays, who have dropped six in a row to Seattle dating back to 2016, showed some life by battling back from a 7-2 deficit Saturday but lost for the 12th time in 15 games. Catcher Wilson Ramos has been Tampa Bay’s hottest hitter of late, going 11-for-20 over his last six games with a pair of homers.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, ROOT Northwest (Seattle), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.84 ERA) vs. Rays LH Blake Snell (1-6, 4.78)
Gallardo has not been able to get deep into games since rejoining the rotation - going more than five innings once in five starts - but is 1-1 in that span while allowing three or fewer runs four times. The 31-year-old Mexican is coming off his second-worst outing of the season as he gave up eight runs over four frames in Monday’s loss to Baltimore. Lucas Duda is 5-for-13 with a pair of homers versus Gallardo, who is 3-2 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career games against the Rays.
Snell snapped a 16-game winless streak Tuesday when he limited Toronto to four runs and seven hits over six innings for his first victory since Sept. 22. The 24-year-old pitched better in his previous start while holding Cleveland to one run and four hits across 6 1/3 frames but settled for a no-decision. Snell faced Seattle in his second career start last year and suffered the loss, permitting five runs (one earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
1. Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier is 3-for-8 with a pair of runs scored in his first two games since coming off the disabled list.
2. Seattle OF Mitch Haniger belted a grand slam Saturday in his first game back after being out three weeks due to facial fractures. OF Jarrod Dyson (groin) was placed on the 10-day DL in a corresponding move.
3. The Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello from the Los Angeles Angels (1-for-4, one RBI in 2017) on Saturday.
PREDICTION: Rays 6, Mariners 3