The Tampa Bay Rays just won their fourth straight game to move above .500, both feats they haven't accomplished since August.
To remain a winning team with their fifth consecutive victory, the Rays will have to beat Felix Hernandez in Seattle for the first time.
Hernandez and the Mariners hope to build off a positive road trip Monday night when they open a three-game series against the Rays.
Tampa Bay (15-14) is fresh off a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to finish off its first four-game run since Aug. 8-12. Though the Rays have experienced recent success at Safeco Field, none has come against Hernandez.
In fact, the Mariners (18-13) haven't lost any of King Felix's 10 home starts against Tampa Bay. Hernandez is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in those outings, and he is 7-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 15 overall starts against the Rays.
The right-hander has recorded three complete games in his last seven starts against them, including his 12-strikeout perfect game in Seattle on Aug. 15, 2012. He gave up one run in 16 innings between two wins over Tampa Bay last season.
No current Rays player has homered off Hernandez, and Evan Longoria has the only RBI while going 6 for 27 in the matchup. Hernandez is tied with Jamie Moyer for the franchise lead with 145 career wins.
“I can't think of too many that are better,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told MLB's official website. “You talk about guys evolving. … Felix, you know, he's pitching 90, 91 mph right now. But the movement he creates on pitches and how he locates is second to none.”
However, Hernandez is coming off his worst start of the season, getting shelled for eight runs – four earned – and nine hits over four-plus innings of Wednesday's 9-8 win at Oakland.
Seattle's bats kept Hernandez from his third loss in that game, but they went cold in the final three contests of a four-game set in Houston. The Mariners totaled seven runs while losing two of three, but still won five of seven on the trip. Robinson Cano's AL-best 12th homer accounted for all their offense in Sunday's 5-1 loss.
''We didn't have a lot going there offensively,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Cano is batting .514 with four home runs and nine RBIs during an eight-game overall hitting streak, but is hitting just .208 at home this season.
He homered twice in Saturday's 3-2 win, and Tampa Bay's Monday starter Matt Moore still considers Seattle's lineup a huge threat.
“You just have to be careful and try to make sure there aren't a lot of runners on when they bat so you can challenge them and be aggressive in the zone,” Moore told MLB's official website. “Those guys are obviously pretty good hitters.”
Moore (1-3, 4.95) enters fresh off his worst outing in Tuesday's 10-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The left-hander surrendered seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Moore is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners, and Cano is 5 for 20 off him with a homer.