The good news for all Seattle Mariner fans is that the slide is over. Seattle dropped the first two games of their home series vs. the division leading Rangers before taking the finale Sunday. By winning on Sunday, the Mariners snapped an eight-game slide, their longest of the season. Now that the losing streak is over, the Mariners look to take advantage of an easier spot in their schedule. Three of their last four opponents (ten of their last twelve games) were against division leaders. The next seven games will be against fourth place San Diego and last place Minnesota. At eight games under .500 (21-29), the Mariners are at their lowest point of the season since April 26th when a loss to the Angels put them at 9-16.
Saunders and Hernandez struggle at home. For Seattle, who came into this series 2-2 at home vs. Texas, the rotation looked to line-up very nicely with Saunders, Hernandez, and Iwakuma. Instead, the Rangers hit two home runs off Joe Saunders, sending him to his first loss at Safeco Field. Going into the game, Saunders was 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA this season and 9-0 lifetime. Saunders allowed eight hits and six ER in 5.0 IP in the 9-5 loss. The Mariners turned to their ace, Felix Hernandez, on Saturday night but the Rangers jumped on him early and Hernandez was unable to get through the sixth inning in a 5-2 loss. Since leaving his start at New York, Hernandez has lost his last two starts not getting to the sixth inning in either of them. He gave up a season-high eleven hits to the Rangers and five ER in 5.2 IP.
Clawing and Scratching. The Mariners put their eight-game losing streak behind them yesterday with a 4-3 win in 13 innings. Hisashi Iwakuma handcuffed the powerful Texas’ line-up holding them to five hits and two ER over 8.0 IP. However, after nine innings it was tied at 2, and the Mariners’ would need some clutch hitting to get over the hump. Raul Ibanez responded in the bottom of the 11th, hitting a solo home run off closer Joe Nathan to erase a 3-2 Ranger lead. Since the start of the Yankee series, Ibanez has six HR in his last nine games. Down to their final out in the 13th inning and with Kendrys Morales on third base after a one-out double, Jason Bay delivered the game-winning hit. Bay, who came in for Michael Saunders in the 9th, went 2-for-3 for the game. It was a tough win, but slump busters usually are and the Mariners will look to carry that momentum into the Padres series.
Two at home vs. San Diego. The Mariners will play two in Seattle against the Padres on Monday and Tuesday, before travelling to San Diego for two games Wednesday and Thursday. The Mariners are to the back of their rotation and will throw Aaron Harang today and Brandon Maurer on Tuesday. Harang is familiar with the Padres having spent a lot of time in the N.L. and has a 3.75 ERA against San Diego in 100.2 career innings. Maurer will be looking for his first win since April 25th. He is 0-3 in his last four starts with losses to the Orioles, A’s, and Angels. The Padres have gone 1-2 in their last two series: home vs. the Cardinals and at Arizona. This will be the first meeting of the season of these two teams. Seattle is 1-1 against the National League this season, having played only the Pittsburgh Pirates.