Blue Jays-Mariners Preview

The Seattle Mariners are closing in on their longest win streak

in five years, but that attempt will come against a red-hot pitcher

for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Mariners will seek a seventh consecutive victory and sweep

of the Blue Jays on Wednesday night while trying to hand Carlos

Villanueva his first loss of the season.

Dustin Ackley got Seattle off to a strong start during a 7-2 win

Tuesday with a leadoff home run and matched a career high with

three RBIs. Brendan Ryan added three hits and drove in a run to

help the Mariners boost their batting average to .314 during the

win streak.

Seattle is 28th in the majors with a .233 average.

“One thing that’s important to me is you’re not just doing it

one way or another,” manager Eric Wedge said. “You have to have

multiple ways to win ballgames up here if you’re going to be a

consistent winner and you’re seeing us do that.”

The Mariners (49-57) will be trying to win seven in a row for

the first time since an eight-game run June 23-July 1, 2007. They

capped that streak with their most recent three-game sweep of

Toronto.

Seattle, though, will have to face Villanueva (6-0, 2.92 ERA),

who is 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA in five games since joining the rotation

June 29. The right-hander gave up two solo homers and two other

hits over five innings during an 8-3 victory against Detroit on

Friday.

“What he has shown repeatedly is that he is going to keep the

game under control,” manager John Farrell said. “He sets the tone.

He throws strikes and is capable of making the key pitch in tough

situations.”

Villanueva, who has posted a 1.93 ERA while winning four

consecutive outings, will pitch opposite another streaking starter,

Blake Beavan (6-6, 5.20), during his first start against the

Mariners.

Beavan has won all three of his starts since being recalled from

Triple-A Tacoma on July 17 and has allowed one run in each of his

last two outings, beating Kansas City 6-1 on Friday.

“I’m pleased, but I’m not satisfied,” Beavan told the team’s

official website. “I want to keep building on each start and get

back to where I need to be, which is competing and getting deep in

the game and giving our guys a chance to win a ballgame every

night.”

Beavan is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against Toronto

(51-52). He gave up three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings

while not factoring in the decision of a 9-5 road win April 27.

Edwin Encarnacion is 3 for 4 with two homers against the

right-hander, including one in April, and Colby Rasmus is 3 for 4

with a home run.

Ryan, batting .471 (8 for 17) during the win streak, is 5 for 8

with two doubles and a triple against Villanueva.