Mariners-Indians Preview

It’s been hard for Joe Saunders to figure out why he can’t lose

at home but has yet to win on the road.

The veteran left-hander looks to avoid a fifth consecutive

losing road start as the Seattle Mariners face the surging

Cleveland Indians on Saturday.

Saunders (3-4, 5.51 ERA) is 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA in four home

starts this season, but 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road.

“It’s killing me,” he said after allowing one run in 6 1-3

innings of a 6-1 victory over Oakland on Sunday to improve to 9-0

with a 1.72 ERA in 13 career starts at Safeco Field. “I know I have

it in me. It’s just a matter of doing it on the road.”

Saunders has given up 22 runs and 29 hits over 14 2-3 innings of

his last three starts away from home. He went 41-31 with a 3.66 ERA

in 90 road starts in his previous eight seasons.

“It’s hard to explain,” he told the Mariners’ official website.

“I pride myself on being a good road pitcher and that hasn’t

happened yet. So hopefully the next start I can finally turn the

page.”

Saunders is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts against the

Indians, including 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two at Cleveland – where

he last pitched in 2008.

He’ll try to help Seattle (20-22) bounce back from a 6-3,

10-inning loss Friday.

Jason Kipnis’ second three-run homer in as many games came with

two outs in the 10th and sent the Indians (23-17) to their 15th win

in 20 games. They are 10-2 during that stretch at home.

“You never want to put too much emphasis on different wins, but

we knew we had a big crowd,” said Kipnis, whose winner came in

front of announced 34,282 people. “To get a win in front of them

and to get it like this in front of them, hopefully it brings some

of them back.”

Kipnis is 5 for 8 and also has two doubles in the last two

contests. He’s batting .389 with two homers and five RBIs during

his last four against the Mariners.

Scheduled Cleveland starter Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68) is 2-0

with a 1.74 ERA in three starts since he opened 1-3 with a 3.52

ERA. The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings of a 4-3,

10-inning win at Detroit on Sunday.

“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff,” McAllister told the

Indians’ official website. “I was definitely happy with the way I

battled.”

Though McAllister is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts against

the Mariners, he allowed a solo homer to Michael Saunders and two

other hits in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a

3-1 loss at Seattle on Aug. 22.

Michael Saunders is 2 for 19 with seven strikeouts in his last

four games, but teammate Raul Ibanez had three hits, including a

two-run homer, Friday.

Ibanez, who turns 41 in June, is batting .393 (11 for 28) with

five homers and 14 RBIs in eight games this month. He hit .158 (9

for 57) with two home runs and five RBIs in 17 April contests.