Wilson HR Fuels Mariners Past Rays

Human InterestSeattle MarinersNew York YankeesTanyon SturtzeIchiro SuzukiJamey WrightTampa Bay Rays

No need for the Tampa Bay Rays tomake a U-turn to Tropicana Field.

Josh Wilson hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixthinning off James Shields and the Seattle Mariners stalled ALEast-leading Tampa Bay 6-2 Sunday.

The Rays' four-game winning streak ended. They began the daywith a 1½-game division edge over the New York Yankees, who playedBoston at night.

With a win and a Boston loss Sunday, Tampa Bay would haveclinched its second-ever playoff berth. If both had occurred, theRays had planned to return to their ballpark for a celebration.

"I would have been so happy to do that," Tampa Bay manager JoeMaddon said.

The Rays host Baltimore on Monday night.

"The upside is, obviously, if we get to do it (Monday) it willbe with the fans," Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez said. "They canenjoy it with us instead of just coming back by ourselves."

Tampa Bay, at 93-62, has the majors' best record.

"I think the wonderful thing about our group is we have a veryshort memory and it has nothing to do with lack of intellect,"Maddon said. "I think it's just the fact that we're able toprocess the day properly and move on to the next day."

Wilson hit his second home run of the season, and first sinceMay 10. He was in an 0-for-14 slump when he connected with two outsoff Shields (13-14) for a 5-2 lead.

The homer was the 34th allowed by Shields this season, breaking Tanyon Sturtze's team record of 33 set in 2002.

"I was one pitch away from a good outing and getting themomentum back on our side," Shields said. "It came down to onepitch."

Rays All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria missed his thirdstraight game because of a strained left quadriceps and will bere-evaluated on Monday. He could return by the middle of the week.

"He's doing well," Maddon said. "He felt pretty good."

Seattle avoided a sweep and has the worst AL road record thisyear at 24-54.

Luke French (5-6) allowed two runs and eight hits in five-plusinnings. Shields gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Jose Lopez put Seattle ahead 2-0 with a two-run single in thefifth.

"A big hit from Lopey, obviously a big homer from Wilson,"Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said.

Tampa Bay tied it in the bottom half of the fifth when DesmondJennings hit an RBI triple and scored on B.J. Upton's single.

Matt Mangini extended the Mariners lead to 6-2 with aseventh-inning RBI single.

Seattle reliever Jamey Wright threw two scoreless innings beforeDan Cortes struck out the side in the eighth. Brandon League,filling in while closer David Aardsma comes back from a strainedleft side, pitched a perfect ninth.

"All three guys, outstanding," Brown said.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4 with a walk and leads themajors with 66 multihit games this season. He up picked his 56thinfield hit of the year in the third.

Notes: Mariners INF Russell Branyan (back stiffness) and INF-OFMike Carp (strained right arch) will fly to Seattle on Monday andbe examined by the team medical staff. Carp will have an MRI exam.... Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford had the day off. ... Seattle CFFranklin Gutierrez stole his 25th base in the fourth, which gaveMariners three players - joining Chone Figgins (42) and Suzuki (41)- with 25 or more in the same season for just the second time inteam history. Suzuki was part of a trio that accomplished the featin 2001.

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