Edwin Jackson will be facing the Rays for the first time since being dealt by them after the 2008 campaign, while tonight's tilt will also feature the first meting between the Upton brothers, B.J. and Justin.
More importantly, though, for B.J. Upton and the Rays is they will be trying to string back-to-back wins together after salvaging the finale of their three-game set with the San Diego Padres on Thursday. Upton, Kelly Shoppach and Carlos Pena each hit solo home runs while Willy Aybar donated a two-run single for the Rays in the 5-3 win.
Matt Garza (8-5) got the win as over eight innings of work he was charged with three runs on six hits. He added five strikeouts to win for the third time in his past four starts.
"It's been rolling the wrong way for way too long, man, come on," Tampa manager Joe Maddon said. "That was a thought I had during the game. The only way the roll comes back to you is if you keep pushing, if you keep grinding, you keep trying. If you stop doing that, the momentum keeps rolling in your face. We were able to push the momentum back the other way today, and that's a good thing."
The win was just the second in the last eight games for the Rays, who now trail the first-place New York Yankees by two games in the American League East.
Hoping to keep the Rays in the win column tonight will be righty Jeff Niemann, who is 6-1 with a 2.84 earned run average. Niemann did not get a decision on Saturday in Florida, as he allowed two runs and four hits in six innings of a 9-8 win.
This will be his first appearance against the D-Backs, who will pin their hopes on the right-handed Jackson. Jackson pitched for the Rays from 2006-08, but was dealt to Detroit following his career-best 14 win campaign.
"I have good memories everywhere I played, but they're memories," Jackson said. "I'm with a new team -- it's a new start. Sometimes the past is the past, and you have to keep moving with the present."
Jackson faced another former team on Saturday in the Tigers and he picked up the win, surrendering four runs (three earned) and nine hits in 7 2/3 innings to up his record to 4-6 to go along with a 5.05 ERA.
He beat the Rays the only other time he faced them, giving up three runs in eight innings.
After Curtis Granderson put the Yanks ahead in the top half of the 10th with a home run, Arizona loaded the bases with no outs, but Mariano Rivera retired the next three batters, sending the D-Backs to their seventh loss in nine tries.
Arizona took two of three from the Rays the last time these teams met back in 2007.