Tampa Bay has started 20-7, and that's the team Seattle will try to snap it's five-game losing streak against tonight - just one of many challenges at Safeco Field.
They'll start a pitcher, Ryan Rowland-Smith, who hasn't won yet this season. They'll start an infield without a backup, since Jack Wilson's hamstring strain has him out.
Milton Bradley is on the restricted list, Ryan Langerhans is in left field and Michael Saunders, just brought up, is on the bench along with Mike Sweeney and Adam Moore.
If someone is going to jump-start this offense, it has to be someone already in the lineup - Franklin Gutierrez, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, Ken Griffey Jr. ...
And Rowland-Smith better hold the Rays under three runs.
- Rowland-Smith walked his second batter, Carlos Pena, to open the second inning, and B.J. Upton banged a double into right-center field for the RBI. With two out, Gabe Kapler popped up to shallow center - but the ball fell untouched for an RBI single. With the pressure Seattle's hitters are feeling, two runs may be two too many. In the second: Tampa Bay 2, Seattle 0.
- Jeff Niemann in the Mariners second inning: Gutierrez struck out, Junior struck out. Lopez singled and Langerhans walked - on four pitches. Josh Wilson walked on four pitches, loading 'em up. After falling behind Rob Johnson, 3-0, Niemann came back to strike Johnson out looking.
- Gutierrez flied out to the warning track with Figgins on second base and two outs. It's rare to see a Mariner hit a ball that deep - when Gutierrez homered last night, it broke a string of 76 homerless innings for Seattle. After three: Tampa Bay 2, Seattle 0.
- A one out walk to B.J. Upton set up Willy Aybar's hit-and-run double, good for another Tampa run. Rowland-Smith has walked three batters. Two have scored. In the fourth: Tampa Bay 3, Seattle 0.
- The Rays can situational hit, too. Jason Bartlett doubled and Carl Crawford singled off first baseman Kotchman, pushing Bartlett to third. No. 3 hitter Ben Zobrist then laid down a fine squeeze bunt - and beat it out for an RBI single. Evan Longoria doubled home a fifth run. With one out, after 90 pitches, Rowland-Smith came out in favor of Ian Snell. Aybar singled home a run with two outs. The Rays are now officially out of the Mariners normal range. In the fifth: Tampa Bay 6, Seattle 0.
- Seventh inning stretch time. Head for the fridge. Let the dog out. Finish your homework. Kiss your wife - and take your time. This one feels gone.
- Eighth inning: Leadoff walk, two-out, two-run home run by Crawford. Snell is gone, and this game has officially left the building. In the eighth: Tampa Bay 8, Seattle 0.
- Bottom of the ninth. Kotchman struck out. Gutierrez flied out. Griffey Jr. flied out. It's a final: Tampa Bay 8, Seattle 0.