After a 3-6 start, which included a three-game losing streak from May 8-21, Garcia has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. He posted a 1.88 ERA during the five consecutive wins, dropping his season ERA from 5.90 to 4.30.
“You have to hit bottom before you can come back up,” Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price said. “That stretch of three games made him realize there had to be an adjustment and it was more than mechanical. It had to be mental and emotional.”
Garcia allowed five hits in eight innings in his last start Wednesday, leading the Mariners to their fourth straight win, 2-0 over the Angels.
The Mariners will be glad to see Garcia back on the mound after a stunning series loss to the lowly San Diego Padres. Seattle fell 3-1 on Sunday as San Diego took three of four from the team with the best record in baseball.
Anaheim’s Garret Anderson hit his team-leading 18th home run, and Brown surrendered a season-high 10 hits and four runs in five innings.
“Six runs against that pitching staff is good,” Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. “Brown looked like he had great stuff, but we were able to hit some balls hard against him and they went in the right places.”
The Angels won for only the third time in 10 games to avoid being swept.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Angels - 3rd place, 12 1/2 GB, AL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Garcia (8-6, 4.30 ERA). The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings in his last six starts. Garcia has mostly overpowered the Angels in his career, going 8-2 with a 2.56 ERA and two shutouts in 13 starts against them.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Sele (3-5, 6.52 ERA). The right-hander is winless in his last two starts, including Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Seattle, when he gave up one run in five innings. Sele went 32-15 while pitching for the Mariners in 2000 and 2001. He is making his first start of the season against his former team and is 3-5 with a 5.43 ERA lifetime against the Mariners.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .356 avg.; Brett Boone, 20 HRs, 61 RBIs and 57 runs; Suzuki, 18 SBs. Angels - Anderson, .316 avg., 18 HRs and 66 RBIs; Glaus, 44 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 6-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - OF Suzuki doubled in the third inning Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, five short of his career high set in 2001. … Suzuki is 4-for-6 with a double and a triple in his career against RHP Sele. … LF Randy Winn is 6-for-11 with three doubles against Sele. Angels - DH Brad Fullmer is 12-for-31 (.387) with three HRs and five doubles against RHP Garcia. … 2B Kennedy entered Sunday’s game with five hits in 34 at-bats, but went 3-for-4 with an RBI single. … 3B Glaus is 6-for-34 (.176) in his career against Garcia.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 26-10 on the road; Angels - 18-15 at home.