Joel Pineiro looks to win his sixth straight start as the American League-leading Seattle Mariners complete a three-game series against former manager Lou Piniella and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Safeco Field.
Pineiro flourished under Piniella’s guidance during the previous three seasons, going a combined 21-9 while working his way into the Mariners’ rotation. The 24-year-old right-hander got off to an inconsistent start this year, but has come on of late, winning five straight with a 1.98 ERA.
On Tuesday, Pineiro allowed one run and five hits over six innings as the Mariners pulled out a 6-5 win over Baltimore.
“He was pitching several innings out there without feeling the ball the way he normally does,” said first-year Seattle skipper Bob Melvin of Pineiro.
“He took a line drive off his (bare) hand early in the game, but he went back out there and didn’t feel right.”
Piniella, who managed the Mariners for 10 seasons before moving to Tampa Bay, watched the Devil Rays suffer a 4-3 loss in Friday’s series opener.
The Devil Rays will try to win their first road series since taking two of three at Toronto from May 13-15.
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 23 GB, AL East. Mariners - 1st place, AL West.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Jason Standridge (0-4, 5.74 ERA). The rookie right-hander is still seeking his first career win. Since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 10, Standridge has gone winless in six outings, including an 11-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox last Sunday. He allowed a season-high seven runs and eight hits over a season-low two innings. Standridge is making his first career appearance against the Mariners.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Pineiro (10-5, 3.32 ERA). Pineiro is 1-3 with a 4.43 ERA in three career starts against the Devil Rays.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .308 avg.; Aubrey Huff, 17 HRs, 50 RBIs and 49 runs; Carl Crawford, 21 SBs. Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .346 avg., 67 runs and 25 SBs.; Bret Boone, 24 HRs and 76 RBIs; .
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - OFs Baldelli and Crawford will reach the All-Star break with the most combined hits by 21-year-old teammates. With one game to go, they have 198 hits, way ahead of the previous high of 153 by Ruben Sierra and Jerry Browne of the 1987 Texas Rangers. … The Devil Rays have had 55 games decided by one or two runs, most in the majors. They’re 24-31. “It tells us that we’re competing,” Piniella said. “With some improvements, we can get better quicker.” … C Toby Hall is 3-for-3 in his career against RHP Pineiro. Mariners - OF Suzuki went 0-for-4 on Saturday, ending his 10-game hitting streak. … RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki began a rehabilitation program with eight minutes of throwing on flat ground Saturday. There is still no timetable for his return. He cracked two ribs June 8 while carrying his luggage. … The Mariners are trying to avoid losing their third straight road series.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 13-31 on the road; Mariners - 26-20 at home.