Taking two of three from Tampa would be a fine way to open a home stand and maintain a little momentum carried over from Kansas City.
To do so, Seattle will have to beat Scott Kazmir, which the league has done routinely this season - he's 6-10 with a 6.10 earned run average and still throws too many pitches per inning.
Still, Ryan Rowland-Smith must pitch to estalish his spot in the rotation after lasting four innings against the Royals.
Two pitchers trying to get it right.
One out into the first inning, Rowland-Smith hit Carl Crawford, gave up a double, then a walk to load the bases.
Pat Burrell lined into a double play to bail Rowland-Smith out of the jam.
Ichiro led off with a double to center field, and a Jose Lopez jam-shot single into center scored the run and gave Lopez his 66th RBI.
With two out, Adrian Beltre singled off the glove of Evan Longoria to get to Russell Branyan. Branyan stuck out.
After one: Mariners 1, Rays 0
The Rays move ahead
Willy Aybar singled and one out later Dioner Navcarro hit one into the Tamopa bullpen for his seventh home run.
With two outs, Jason Bartlett walked, and Crawford struck out.
In the second: Rays 2, Mariners 1
Mariners take another lead
Jack Wilson walked, but two outs later was still sitting on base, having been moved up just 90 feet.
Ichiro singled Wilson home and Kazmir couldn't end it there - giving up the 14th home run of the season to Franklin Gutierrez.
After two: Mariners 4, Rays 2
Rowland-Smith on a roll
In his last start, Rowland-Smith was gone after four innings. Today, he's given up two runs, but struck out five in the last two innings and six through four innings.
Rowland Smith is painting corners with his fastball, doing the same with his breaking stuff, and the Rays are swinging and missing wildly - or taking strike three while watching a good pitch.
He seems to have settled happily into a rhythm, and the Mariners will try to ride him deep into the game.
Kazmir is struggling mightily with the strike zone, falling behind and then centering his fastball - and it's cost him.
Gutierrez singled, Lopez doubled and Kazmir wild-pitched one run home, then gave up Mik Sweeney's sacrifice fly for another.
This is not the pitcher of last year or 2007. Kazmir of 2009 is a mess. Nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings? Yikes. He hasn't gone beyond seven innings yet this year.
Jeff Bennett now pitching for Tampa, and he walked Michael Saunders with the bases loaded. Ichiro followed by swinging at the first pitch, and grounded out.
After five: Mariners 7, Rays 2
Branyan blows it open
Mariners loaded the bases with one out on a Gutierrez single, a walk and a hit batter - Beltre!
Russell Branyan unloaded them with his 26th home run and first grand slam of the season - an opposite field shot into the visiting bullpen.
That gave Branyan 66 RBI, tying him with Lopez for the club lead.
After six: Mariners 11, Rays 2
Ovation for Rowland-Smith
Clearly tiring in the seventh, Rowland-Smith got two outs, then gave up back-to-back singles - and after 107 pitches was lifted in favor of Shawn Kelley.
As he left the game, Rowland-Smith got a standing ovation. Kelley got out of the jam.
After seven: Mariners 11, Rays 2
And in the ninth:
Kelley worked a scoreless 1 1/3 innings and handed off to Miguel Batista.
Batista finished it off and the Mariners took the series, 2-1.
For those who haven't been keeping tabs, this leaves the Mariners 21-13-1 in series this season, and 12-3 in the rubber-game of a three-game series.
It's a final: Mariners 11, Rays 2