Continued success during interleague play has helped the Miami Marlins get back on track.
They’ll try for an eighth consecutive victory over an AL opponent Sunday against the visiting Seattle Mariners, who are looking to avoid a sixth straight defeat.
Henderson Alvarez tossed a two-hitter and Marcell Ozuna hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs during a 7-0 victory over Seattle (7-10) on Saturday.
The Marlins (8-10) have scored 29 runs while winning three of four since an eight-game slide during which they totaled 22. Miami owns a 27-9 run advantage during its interleague winning streak against Kansas City, Detroit and the Mariners.
It has a 0.69 ERA and recorded three shutouts during that stretch.
Overshadowed at times by slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the 23-year-old Ozuna is batting .343 and is 9 for 17 with six RBIs in the last four games.
Stanton, whose ninth-inning grand slam gave the Marlins an 8-4 victory in Friday’s series opener, went 0 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts Saturday to see his strikeout total rise to 22 in 18 games.
Kevin Slowey (0-0, 4.38 ERA) will start for the Marlins in place of the struggling Brad Hand after making four relief appearances. Slowey went 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 starts for Miami in 2013.
"Hopefully, Slowey will go out there and give us some innings," manager Mike Redmond told the Marlins’ official website.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA in five starts against the Mariners but has not faced them since pitching for Minnesota in 2011.
Robinson Cano is 3 for 10 with a home run and a double versus Slowey, but he’s 2 for 17 with a three-run homer in his last four games.
Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino each had a hit Saturday for the Mariners, who have been shut out three times and averaged 2.5 runs while losing seven of eight.
"This is a tough stretch for us," manager Lloyd McClendon said. ”Everybody in baseball goes through tough stretches, and we just happen to have ours now. We’ve got to grind it out and keep our heads up and keep going.”
The Mariners hand the ball to Brandon Maurer, who will make his season debut with James Paxton and Blake Beavan on the disabled list. The right-hander appeared in 22 games for Seattle during his first major league season in 2013 and went 3-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 14 starts.
He was 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA in four games – one start – for Triple-A Tacoma this season.
"I think he’s probably deserving," McClendon told the Mariners’ official website. "He was in consideration during spring training to make this club. I think he deserves the opportunity."
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the only player on the Marlins that has faced Maurer, and he hit a two-run homer off him July 30 while playing for Boston.