Struggling Indians take on red-hot Mariners
The Seattle Mariners have put together an impressive stretch at home over the last month and continuing it seems favorable considering the Cleveland Indians are coming to town.
The Mariners will go for their sixth straight win Monday night when they start a three-game series against the struggling Indians.
After opening its nine-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay last Monday, Seattle won the final two of that series, then swept a three-game series from Minnesota over the weekend.
Michael Saunders hit a two-run homer in the seventh, Blake Beavan pitched into the sixth and Eric Thames went 3 for 4 and drove in a run in a 5-1 win Sunday.
The Mariners (58-64) have won 12 of 13 at home, with their pitching staff compiling a 2.08 ERA while holding opponents to a .200 batting average.
"I think you see it in the clubhouse, we're coming to the park expecting to win," Saunders told Seattle's official website. "We're having a lot of fun doing it. Even our games that we lose, our heads are still held high, we're able to come back the next day and continue to expect to win."
The sweep of the Twins also extended Seattle's winning streak against teams from the AL Central to eight games. Taking on the Indians (54-67) could help the Mariners continue that run since Cleveland has lost five straight, 18 of 22 and was swept by Oakland over the weekend, losing 7-0 Sunday.
Justin Masterson was knocked around for seven runs in 5 2-3 innings and the Indians had seven hits.
"You have to stay positive," manager Manny Acta said. "The guys are better than that. They are trying very hard. They need to relax. Its been going on for a while."
Looking to extend their winning streak, the Mariners hand the ball to Kevin Millwood (4-10, 4.28 ERA), who is going for his first win in four starts.
Millwood has received two runs of support over the previous three outings. He gave up two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday while striking out a season-high eight.
"We've struggled to get that guy wins," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's pitched well for us this year. The bottom line is to put your team in a chance to win ballgames, and that's what he does."
The right-hander is 4-2 with a 4.74 ERA against Cleveland. He was pounded for seven runs and nine hits in four innings, but didn't factor in the decision of a 9-8 loss on April 17.
The Indians will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.62), who was hit hard his last time out.
Jimenez is 1-5 with an 8.83 ERA over his last seven starts. He gave up eight runs and eight hits, including two homers, in four innings of a 9-6 loss to Los Angeles last Tuesday.
"I don't even know (what happened)," Jimenez said. "It's been a really tough year, but I have to keep going, keep working."
The right-hander has won both his starts against the Mariners. He went six innings May 16, allowing three runs and five hits in a 9-3 victory.
The Indians are 4-1 against the Mariners this year and have won five of six in Seattle.