(Sports Network) - The weekend series between the Seattle Mariners and the
Tampa Bay Rays will be decided on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a
three-game series at Tropicana Field.
After Tampa Bay prevailed in 14 innings in Friday night's game, the Mariners
bounced back by claiming Saturday's bout, 2-1.
Jason Vargas (10-7) continued his great pitching of late in the win, going six
innings while allowing seven hits, three walks and one unearned run. The
southpaw has now won three straight starts and has only surrendered five
earned runs in four July starts.
"It starts with Jason Vargas," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "(He) didn't
quite have the command he normally does, but he didn't give into it, either."
One night after being saddled with the loss in extra innings, Tom Wilhelmsen
pitched a perfect ninth inning for his ninth save.
Alex Cobb (4-7) lasted just two innings for the Rays before exiting with a
bruised right leg after getting hit by a Michael Saunders' liner. He allowed
two earned runs on three hits and two walks. The Rays bullpen finished the
game pitching seven scoreless innings between four different relievers, but
the offense could not capitalize.
Seattle did all of its damage in the top of the first inning, when it loaded
the bases before a Saunders single plated two.
"When you score two runs in the first inning and that's enough ... it's a good
win," Wedge added.
Jeff Keppinger finished with three hits to lead the Rays.
Tampa had won the last nine in this series, including 12 of 13 from the
Mariners at home.
Blake Beavan will throw for the Mariners on Sunday afternoon and has been
largely ineffective in 13 starts this season with a 4-6 record and a 6.06 ERA.
Despite allowing seven hits and five earned runs in six innings of work on
July 17 against the Royals, the performance was good enough for Beavan to earn
the win. It was the fourth consecutive start where right-hander allowed five
earned runs or more.
Beavan faced off against Tampa Bay on May 2, earning the loss after allowing
seven hits, two walks and five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The former first-round pick has walked just 11 batters on the season, but
opponents are hitting .297 against him.
The Rays will answer with 23-year-old left-hander Matt Moore, who has had
plenty of ups and downs en route to a 6-6 record and a 4.39 ERA.
Moore has won five of his last six decisions, including on July 17 against the
Indians as he allowed three hits and two earned runs in five innings of work.
Though the southpaw has impressive strikeout numbers (99 in 104 2/3 innings),
his control has been his biggest concern, as he's issued 55 walks, fifth most
in the American League.
The Sports Network