The Seattle Mariners have been a better team on the road this season. They hope that trend continues for at least for a few more days.
The Mariners play the fourth of a seven-game road swing Monday in the series opener against the Minnesota Twins.
Seattle (11-15) is 5-5 on the road this season, compared with a 6-10 mark at Safeco Field. The Mariners had lost nine straight on the road to the Baltimore Orioles before taking two of three over the weekend at Camden Yards, capped by Sunday’s 4-3 win.
The Mariners haven’t had a lot of success at Minnesota recently, losing six of seven road games to the Twins (9-15) after having won five straight at the Metrodome from Aug. 29, 2002-June 1, 2003.
Monday’s game opens a stretch of 10 games in 10 days for Seattle as it tries to dig itself out of last place in the AL West.
“I don’t think we ever had bad confidence,” Mariners designated hitter Carl Everett said. “Early on, we just haven’t played to our capabilities …Hopefully these last few days bring out everything that we have.”
Everett has batted just .220 this season, but will try to build on a go-ahead, two-run double in the fifth inning of Sunday’s win. He also homered in Saturday’s 8-6 victory. The homer and double are his only two hits in his last 13 at-bats.
“This is a game of patience,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “You’ve got to be patient with people that have track records if they’re healthy. The hits (Everett’s) been getting have been big hits for us.”
While Willie Bloomquist (.308) and Raul Ibanez (.301) have been Seattle’s best hitters this season, it’s Everett who has a team-leading four home runs to go with 13 RBIs. He’s also fourth on the team with 36 total bases.
Mariners starter Joel Pineiro (2-2, 4.97 ERA) goes for his third win Monday, facing a Twins team he’s only beaten once in 10 career starts.
Pineiro hasn’t won since a 3-0 April 15 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Pineiro may be catching Minnesota at the right time, however. The Twins suffered their third shutout loss and second in the past three games Sunday, when they were defeated 6-0 by the Detroit Tigers.
Minnesota was outscored 33-1 in the series, losing all three games.
“It was a disappointing series,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They just killed us.”
Right-hander Scott Baker (1-2, 3.47) will try to give Minnesota just its third win in 11 games. Baker suffered a tough-luck loss Wednesday at Kansas City, when he limited the Royals to three runs in seven innings while striking out seven and walking none, but received only one run of support.
Baker has never faced the Mariners.
The Twins are without designated hitter Ruben Sierra, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained left biceps. The Twins recalled left-handed pitcher Dennys Reyes from Triple-A Rochester to replace Sierra on the roster.