A solid showing against three of the majors’ top teams has the Seattle Mariners in position to record a winning homestand.
The Mariners can do it with a second straight victory over the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.
Rookie Mike Montgomery struck out 10 while tossing a four-hitter and Dustin Ackley hit a two-run homer for one of his three hits as Seattle (33-39) evened this series with a 7-0 victory Tuesday to improve to 4-3 on an eight-game stay at Safeco Field.
It was the third time the Mariners scored at least five runs during that stretch and the second shutout on a homestand that began by splitting two with San Francisco then taking two of three from AL West-leading Houston.
Seattle starters have a 2.74 ERA, 46 strikeouts and just seven walks on the homestand.
Roenis Elias (4-4, 3.56 ERA) contributed to that success Friday when he gave up a home run on his first and last pitch but struck out 10 and yielded two other hits in between to last seven-plus innings in a 5-2 victory over the Astros.
"I think it’s just what’s inside him," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of the left-hander, who has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his last eight starts and is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA at home this month.
"He gets after it. … He doesn’t shy away. He’s a tough cookie."
Elias went 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA versus Kansas City last season.
Following a second lopsided defeat in three games, the Royals (40-28) hand the ball to Danny Duffy (2-3, 5.87) in his first appearance since he landed on the disabled list May 25 with biceps tendinitis.
Duffy, who last pitched in the majors May 16, posted a 2.35 ERA and struck out 10 with a walk in two rehab starts for Triple-A Omaha. During that time, the left-hander also tweaked his delivery after allowing 14 runs, 15 hits and 10 walks over 9 2/3 innings to lose his last three starts before going on the DL.
"I feel great," Duffy told MLB’s official website. "The (bullpen sessions) have been great. I’m feeling really comfy with my new delivery. Everything is on a downhill (plane). When I’m missing, I’m missing north and south."
Duffy has a 1.86 ERA despite going 0-1 in two starts versus Seattle.
Robinson Cano, who had two hits Tuesday, is 3 for 8 with a homer versus Duffy. Austin Jackson is 1 for 18 in his last five games but 6 for 20 with two doubles and a home run against him.
Teammate Nelson Cruz could start a second consecutive game as the designated hitter or even rest while he continues to deal with a pelvic bone injury.
"We’ll probably just keep him off his feet for a while and have him DH," McClendon said of Cruz, who is 0 for 6 in the series and has hit only one of his 19 home runs in his last 24 games.