ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sean Rodriguez delivered a seventh-inning double and Gabe Kapler added an eight-inning sacrifice fly as the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a frustrating afternoon against Cliff Lee to rally for a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Lee took a 1-0 lead into the seventh, limiting the team with baseball's best record to doubles by B.J. Upton and Willy Aybar up to that point. Upton doubled again with one out in the seventh, then scored when Rodriguez followed with his hit off the right-centerfield wall.
Carl Crawford tripled into the left field corner, just beyond the reach of Michael Saunders, and scored on Kapler's sacrifice fly.
Dan Wheeler (2-0) retired the only two batters he faced to get the win. Rafael Soriano got the final three outs for his 10th save in 10 opportunities.
The Rays beat Lee (1-2) for the second time in 11 days, rallying in the late innings for the second straight game to improve baseball's top record to 26-11. Lee allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings for his first complete game of the season and 14th overall.
Saunders drove in Seattle's run with a fifth-inning single off Rays starter Matt Garza. Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4, ending his streak of seven consecutive multihit games.
Garza and the Rays beat Lee in Seattle on May 5, snapping Tampa Bay's four-game losing streak against the 2008 Cy Young winner by managing five runs and 10 hits over eight innings.
Lee was much tougher on them this time, striking out 10. Although he had a fielding error in the first, when he also walked a batter for the first time this season, the left-hander kept the Rays in check most of the day by retiring the first eight batters he faced with runners in scoring position.
Upton's double in the second inning was hit hard into the gap in left center, but Aybar's hit in the fourth was a pop fly to shallow right center that fell in front of Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez.
Aybar moved to third when Hank Blalock grounded to first, however that's as close as the Rays came to scoring. Lee escaped by getting Upton to ground to third and Dioner Navarro to ground shortstop to end the threat.
Garza, who walked two and struck out two in six innings, limited the Mariners to Jose Lopez's fourth-inning single until Seattle began the fifth with singles by Josh Wilson, Josh Bard and Saunders to break a scoreless tie.
The Mariners put C Adam Moore (bruised left heel, jammed left knee) on the 15-day DL and purchased the contract of Bard from Triple-A Tacoma. The other Seattle C, Rob Johnson, has back stiffness. … Seattle INF Jack Wilson (strained right hamstring) felt some leg stiffness running the bases in his first minor league rehab game at Double-A West Tennessee on Saturday night and will be re-evaluated. … Rays LHP J.P. Howell, on the DL with a shoulder strain, will pitch a simulated game Monday. He could begin a rehab assignment later in the week. … Tampa Bay 1B Carlos Pena, who's in a 3 for 49 slump that's dropped his batting average to .180, had the day off. He was replaced by Blalock, who joined the Rays on Saturday when Pat Burrell was designated for assignment.