The Seattle Mariners are playing like the team that won a record-setting 116 games two years ago.
Coming off the winningest road trip in franchise history, the surging Mariners open a three-game interleague series with the Montreal Expos at Safeco Field.
The Mariners, who have won 20 of 25 games overall, lost consecutive home games to the Minnesota Twins before sweeping series at Kansas City (two games), Minnesota (four) and Philadelphia (three).
They lost the opener of a three-game set to the New York Mets on Friday, but bounced back to sweep a doubleheader in New York on Sunday, cruising to 13-1 and 7-0 victories. Seattle established a club record for wins on a single trip with their gaudy 11-1 run. The Mariners went a perfect 10-0 on a trip in April 2002.
Ichiro Suzuki singled four times and Freddy Garcia tossed a six-hitter for his first complete game since May 19, 2002 in the opener against the Mets. Jamie Moyer helped complete the sweep as he became the majors’ first 10-game winner, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter.
“We try to get ahead fast, and that makes the other team play our game,” said Suzuki, who added hits in his first two at-bats in the nightcap.
The Mariners will get designated hitter Edgar Martinez back in the lineup. The AL Player of the Month for May, when he had 10 homers and 30 RBIs, was relegated to pinch-hitting duty in the six road interleague games against the Phillies and Mets. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Seattle will turn to right-hander Gil Meche to maintain its hot streak. Meche, second on the team with eight wins, will be looking to win his fifth straight start.
Montreal is coming off its fourth straight win as it completed a three-game sweep against the reeling Texas Rangers with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
After allowing 33 runs and 15 homers in losing two of three to Anaheim, the Expos got three good starts and some clutch relief to sweep the Rangers.
“That was a tough ego series for our pitchers,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. “They bounced back and did a good job this series.”
STANDINGS: Expos - 2nd place, 6 GB, NL East. Mariners - 1st place, AL West.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Javier Vazquez (5-3, 3.51 ERA). After a rough outing against Philadelphia on May 30—when he allowed seven runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-5 loss—Vazquez bounced back against Anaheim on Thursday. He limited the Angels to two runs and three hits—including two solo homers— in seven innings as Montreal won 8-7 win in 14 innings.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Meche (8-2, 3.10 ERA). The right-hander is 7-1 in his last eight starts. After allowing nine earned runs in 10 2-3 innings in his first two starts, Meche has given up only 15 in nine starts spanning 59 innings since.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .335 avg.; Wilkerson, Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera, 8 HRs; Wilkerson, 36 RBIs; Cabrera, 40 runs; Endy Chavez, 11 SBs. Mariners - Suzuki, .328 avg. and 14 SBs; Bret Boone, 17 HRs, 50 RBIs and 52 runs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Expos - 4-2. Mariners - 5-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - After sitting out Sunday, 1B Wil Cordero is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday. … The Expos, coming off a six-game “homestand” in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are making their fourth stop on a six-city, 25-day, 22-game trip away from Montreal. … 2B Vidro is hitting .317 (103-for-325) in his career in interleague play. Mariners - The Mariners will have to make a move prior to this game, to add LHP Matt White to the roster. White was acquired from the Red Sox on Friday for minor league OF Sheldon Fulse. … 2B Boone is 23-for-60 (.383) during a 14-game hitting streak. … The Mariners have scored a major league-leading 63 runs in the first inning, allowing only 38 in the opening frame.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 14-15 on the road; Mariners - 17-11 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - OF Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL. Mariners - OF John Mabry (shoulder), 15-day DL.