The 27-year-old right-hander will shoot for his fourth straight win after enduring a career-worst nine-start losing streak. Ponson appears to have turned his season around, especially after Thursday’s performance against the New York Yankees.
Ponson was in complete command, retiring 18 batters in a row during one stretch and walking none one for the first time this season in a four-hitter as the Orioles rolled to a 9-1 victory over the defending AL champions.
“He was dominating. He was spectacular,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said of Ponson. “I told him before that he was not a 3-12 pitcher. Since the break, he’s really turned it around.”
Ponson has posted a 2.05 ERA during the win streak and is beginning to look like the staff ace the Orioles signed him to be with a three-year, $22.5 million contract in the offseason.
“I’m just making better, quality pitches,” said Ponson, who posted a 6.87 ERA during the nine-start drought. “If I had done that at the beginning of the season, it would be different. Now I am making those pitches. And when I miss, it’s not right down the middle.”
The Orioles lost the final three games to the Yankees, including a 9-7 defeat on Sunday for their seventh loss in 10 games.
Seattle starts a pair of left-handers against Baltimore, which is 12-21 against southpaws this season.
Jamie Moyer, 0-5 in his last eight outings, will start the second game. The 41-year-old left-hander, who pitched for Baltimore from 1993-95, is 15-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 24 career games, including 22 starts, against his former club.
Moyer pitched seven strong innings in an 11-0 win over Baltimore on May 20.
Seattle, which has seven games left on its season-high 14-game road trip, lost 3-2 to Anaheim on Sunday for its 18th loss in 19 road games. The Mariners’ lone victory on the trip thus far was a 6-5 win over Anaheim on Thursday that ended a franchise-record 15-game road losing streak.