The major league-leading Seattle Mariners will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak in more than two months as they continue their interleague series with the National League-worst San Diego Padres.
The Mariners appeared to be set up for their fifth win in six games with a 3-0 lead and three outs to go in Friday’s opener. However, San Diego rallied for an improbable 5-3 victory on Rondell White’s two-out grand slam off right-hander Jeff Nelson.
“There’s not a better feeling for the team than to win a game like that, and I can’t imagine what it feels like for Rondell,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’re pretty much shut down for eight innings and you’re down 3-0, to come back and win on a walkoff grand slam, that’s as good as it gets.”
Seattle, which has not lost three in a row since April 9-11, has dropped consecutive games for the first time since June 10-11. The Mariners are just one-half game ahead of Atlanta (47-24) for baseball’s best record.
Only the Detroit Tigers (18-52) have a worse record than the Padres, who will be bidding for their fifth victory in seven games.
San Diego is also trying to win three in a row at home for the first time since April 3-5.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Padres - 5th place, 20 1/2 GB, NL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joel Pineiro (6-5, 3.86 ERA). Pineiro is coming off Monday’s 6-3 victory over Anaheim. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking two. He has won four of his last six decisions, and boasts a 3-1 mark with a 3.38 ERA in seven road starts this year. He is making his first career appearance against the Padres.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Adam Eaton (2-5, 4.41 ERA). After going winless in May, Eaton is 1-1 in three starts this month. He yielded three runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings Monday, but did not receive a decision in the Padres’ 7-5 win at Colorado. Eaton is facing the Mariners for the first time.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .352 avg. and 18 SBs.; Bret Boone, 19 HRs, 59 RBIs and 56 runs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .311 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 14 HRs and 42 RBIs; Xavier Nady, 34 runs; Ramon Vazquez, 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Mariners - 8-5. Padres - 5-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - RHP Nelson, who is filling in for injured closer Kazuhiro Sasake, has blown three of eight save opportunities. … OF Suzuki went 3-for-5 on Friday, extending his hitting streak to 16 games—seven shy of his career high established in 2001. … With the Mariners playing in an NL stadium, DH Edgar Martinez had to take a seat. Martinez does have 10 career starts at NL stadiums in interleague play, all at first base, and he’s hit safely in all 10. He did not play at all Friday. Padres - The Padres agreed to terms with LHP Daniel Moore, the club’s second round draft pick, on Friday. Moore went 7-3 with one complete game and a 3.56 ERA in 17 games for the North Carolina Tar Heels this year. … The Padres are 2-41 when trailing after eight innings this season. … Eaton has only faced one of the current Mariners, 3B Jeff Cirillo, who is 7-for-20 with two homers and five RBIs against the right-hander.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 25-9 on the road; Padres - 13-24 at home.
INJURIES: Mariners - INF Greg Colbrunn (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki (shoulder), 15-day DL. Padres - INF Lou Merloni (knee), 15-day DL; INF Vazquez (abdomen), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Clay Condrey (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; 3B Phil Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL.