After snapping a season-high eight game losing streak, the Seattle Mariners kept things heading in the right direction against the San Diego Padres. The Mariners earned back-to-back series splits: splitting two in Safeco on Monday and Tuesday then two on the road in San Diego on Wednesday and Thursday. The Mariners, one game under .500 after the Yankee series a couple weeks ago, find themselves at 23-31, two games behind the surging Angels for third and ten and a half games behind the division leading Rangers. The Mariners’ road trip will now take them North, to face the Minnesota Twins for three games.
Harang, Hernandez, and Home Runs. Aaron Harang has struggled since coming over to the Mariners in an April trade, but he put everything together on Memorial Day to lead Seattle to a 9-0 victory. Harang threw a complete game shut out, holding the Padres to four hits while striking out eight. Jason Bay, Mike Morse, and Kelly Shoppach hit home runs off of Clayton Richard to pace the offense. After back-to-back losses, Felix Hernandez rebounded from two straight losses of his own to put the Mariners back in the win column with a 7-1 win yesterday. Hernandez went eight strong allowing only three hits and one ER. The Mariners pounded five home runs yesterday in spacious Petco Park to back Hernandez: two by Nick Franklin and one each from Endy Chavez, Brendan Ryan, and Kendrys Morales. Nick Franklin, called up from Tacoma to replace Dustin Ackley, hit the first two home runs of his major league career and went 3-for-12 in the four games vs. the Padres.
Nick Franklin added some pop for the Seattle Mariners last night hitting two home runs in a 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The Middle Games. Monday and Thursday were great, but Seattle struggled Tuesday night. Edinson Volquez handcuffed the Seattle offense that scored nine the previous day and the Padres got the split in Seattle winning 7-1. Brandon Maurer fell to 2-7 on the season allowing nine hits and six runs (five ER) in 5.2 IP. Maurer was optioned to Tacoma after the loss on Tuesday. As the scene shifted to San Diego on Wednesday, the Mariners dropped a heart-breaker 3-2 in ten innings. Jason Bay homered in the top of the ninth to put Seattle ahead 2-1, but San Diego rallied to tie it off closer Tom Wilhelmsen in the bottom of the ninth and Will Venable hit a game-winning RBI single off Yoervis Medina in the tenth inning. Joe Saunders, by far and away, had his best road start as a Mariner handcuffing the Padres to four hits and one ER in seven innings of work. Before that start Wednesday, his best road start was a rocky outing in Cleveland where he gave up eleven hits and four ER in 5.1 IP.
To the North. Trying to building off their last two wins, where they outscored the Padres 16-1, the Mariners head to Minnesota for three games. Seattle will throw Hisashi Iwakuma, Aaron Harang, and then a yet to be disclosed starter on Sunday. It would seem the Mariners will throw Hector Noesi or Joe Saunders, who pitched Wednesday, on short rest. I would bet on Noesi, who delivered a great spot start in the Yankee series for Aaron Harang and has good numbers on the season (13.2 IP, 13 H, 10 SO, 2.63 ERA). After taking four straight against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Twins are out of last in the A.L. Central and come into this series with a better record than Seattle (23-28). The Mariners and Twins have yet to play this season; Seattle went 8-2 against Minnesota last season.