The Mariners are hoping Garcia has finally straightened himself out as they go for a four-game sweep of the first-place Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
The 26-year-old, who went 34-16 his two last seasons, has failed to win consecutive starts in 2003, but is coming off an encouraging performance in Seattle’s 15-7 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
The right-hander allowed four runs—two earned—on five hits over seven innings to record his first victory since May 3. Garcia had dropped his three prior starts, surrendering 20 earned runs, 22 hits and seven walks in 15 2-3 innings.
“We’ve been playing all right so far, but getting Freddy back to what he can do is just a big plus,” outfielder Randy Winn said. “By no means have we lost any confidence in Freddy. He has been throwing the ball pretty well, (but) just falling behind some guys. For him, mentally it was good for him to come out and get a ‘W.’
The Mariners, who lead the AL with a 36-18 record, have won four in a row and are a win away from their second four-game sweep in Minnesota in three seasons. Seattle also won four at the Metrodome from July 20-23, 2001.
The Mariners went 19-8 in May and remained five games ahead of Oakland in the AL West.
“We’ll take 19 wins in any month,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Dustan Mohr, batting .396 this month, went 2-for-3 with a solo homer for Minnesota, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games.
“We’ve been hitting a lot of balls hard, they’ve just been right at people,” Mohr said. “They’re swinging hot bats right now and pitching really well and it’s tough to beat the combination and we haven’t had very many opportunities to get things going
The Twins are mired in their first losing streak in over a month. Before this series, the Twins had won 21 of 27, while not dropping consecutive games in the stretch.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Twins - 1st place, AL Central.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Garcia (4-6, 5.54 ERA). In four starts against the Twins, Garcia is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kenny Rogers (4-1, 4.31 ERA). Although he’s won his last two decisions, the 38-year-old left-hander is winless in his last four games. In his last start, a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, Rogers allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings in a duel with Barry Zito. Rogers is 7-8 lifetime against the Mariners with a 4.08 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Carlos Guillen, .321 avg.; Bret Boone, 14 HRs and 45 runs; Edgar Martinez, 45 RBIs; Suzuki, 11 SBs. Twins - Jacque Jones, .330 avg., 32 runs and 6 SBs; Bobby Kielty and Torii Hunter, 8 HRs; Hunter, 33 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - OF Winn is 9-for-25 (.360) against Rogers. … The Mariners recalled C Pat Borders from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday. Borders fills the roster spot left by OF John Mabry (shoulder), who was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday. … Seattle has won nine straight on the road. Twins - 3B Corey Koskie is 5-for-11 (.455) against Garcia with four doubles. … Minnesota has suffered one four-game sweep this season, getting swept at home by the New York Yankees from April 18-21. … The Twins are 2-3 on a six-game homestand.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 19-7 on the road; Twins - 15-13 at home.