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Preview: Rays at Mariners

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Tampa Bay Rays continue their 10-game West Coast trip on Friday, when they open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. Tampa Bay dropped to 2-5 on its trek with a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. The Rays, who split the four-game set in Los Angeles, fell 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East but remained 2 1/2 ahead of the New York Yankees for the second wild card.

Tampa Bay registered just six hits in Thursday's loss, including a double by James Loney that drove in the team's only two runs. The Mariners return home from an eight-game road trip that concluded with a 13-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon. Seattle, which went 4-4 on the trek, host three-game sets against Tampa Bay and the Houston Astros before embarking on a 10-game road trip.

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), ROOT (Seattle)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Alex Cobb (8-3, 2.82 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.92)

Cobb tossed his first complete game of the season at Oakland on Saturday but suffered the loss after allowing two runs and five hits in eight innings. It was the first setback since April 30 for the 25-year-old, who went 5-0 over his previous 11 outings. Cobb is 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners.

Iwakuma was forced to settle for a no-decision at Houston on Sunday despite scattering six hits over seven scoreless innings. The 32-year-old native of Japan has yielded a total of seven runs over 27 frames while going 2-0 in his last four starts. Iwakuma did not factor in the decision in his only career start against Tampa Bay last season, allowing two runs and six hits over six innings.

WALK-OFFS

1. Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria's next strikeout with be his career-high 141st of the season.

2. The Mariners have scored six runs in each of their last two games after totaling seven over their previous four contests.

3. Seattle leads the major leagues with 25 first-inning home runs.

PREDICTION: Mariners 3, Rays 1

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130906/preview-rays-at-mariners