In a year they appeared set to contend for a division title, the
Seattle Mariners haven’t gotten off to a strong start, but it’s not
for lack of effort from Franklin Gutierrez.
After helping his team snap a four-game slide, Gutierrez will
try to lead the Mariners to their third straight series victory
over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
The Mariners (2-4) batted .199 through their first five games
and received word before this weekend that top starter Cliff Lee is
expected to miss the rest of this month because of a strained
While it was an inauspicious start to the season, Seattle broke
out with a season-high 12 hits Saturday, including three key
singles in the ninth inning, in a 4-3 comeback victory. Trailing by
two heading into the final frame, Seattle got RBI hits from Ichiro
Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. and Gutierrez.
Gutierrez drove in the go-ahead run then made a leaping catch
against the wall in right-center field in the bottom of the inning
to deny Elvis Andrus a potential extra-base hit with one out.
“It was very important, this victory,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve
been having a tough time scoring runs. So it was very special that
we won. We’ve got to keep doing it and do it better.”
Gutierrez’s three-hit performance Saturday gave him a team-best
.435 average (10 for 23) and extended his hitting streak to 11
games dating to Sept. 30.
He’ll try to add to that streak and help Ian Snell (0-0, 1.50
ERA) to his first win of the season.
The right-hander allowed one run and four hits over six innings
Tuesday in Oakland but did not receive a decision in the Mariners’
2-1, 10-inning defeat.
Snell got his only career win over the Rangers in Arlington on
June 13, 2007. In an 8-1 victory for Pittsburgh, he scattered seven
hits while recording one of his two career complete games.
Snell did not get a decision in two starts in 2009 against Texas
but will face a team that’s also struggling at the plate to open
The Rangers (2-3) are batting .216, and only Vladimir Guerrero
(.474), Joaquin Arias (.455) and Nelson Cruz (.444) are hitting
better than .250.
Cruz hit his fourth homer Saturday to give his team a two-run
lead in the sixth inning, but Frank Francisco blew his second
consecutive save opportunity.
“It’s a tough thing; it should have been a win today,” Cruz
said. “It’s really disappointing, but that’s baseball. Anything can
Francisco, who retired one batter Saturday, also allowed three
runs in the ninth inning of a 3-1 loss to Toronto on Thursday.
Texas manager Ron Washington wouldn’t say if the Dominican
right-hander would remain the team’s closer.
“Stay tuned,” he said.
Whoever relieves Scott Feldman (0-0, 3.86) could have the
opportunity to help the right-hander to his second win in seven
starts dating to the end of last season.
Feldman suffered three straight defeats to finish 17-8 in 2009
and did not get a decision in Monday’s season opener, a 5-4 home
win over Toronto. He allowed three runs and five hits over seven
innings, but the Blue Jays’ Shaun Marcum also carried a no-hit bid
into the seventh.
Feldman was 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts last season
against the Mariners.