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The Seattle Mariners look to break out of their hitting slump and avoid a season high-tying fourth straight loss when they begin a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field on Friday.
Seattle (12-18) won three of its first four contests on a seven-game road trip before dropping the final three, including a 4-1 defeat to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
The Mariners have scored just seven runs during the skid, and leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki is 1-for-13 in those contests. In 44 games against the Indians, though, the right fielder is batting .356 with five homers—including three last season—and 24 RBIs.
Jamie Moyer (1-2, 3.55 ERA), Friday’s starter for Seattle, has been a victim of the Mariners’ offensive woes this season. Seattle has scored over four runs just once in the 43-year-old left-hander’s six starts.
Moyer earned his first victory of the season in his last outing, allowing three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 4-3 win at Baltimore on Sunday. He improved to 42-29 since turning 40.
“I finally got into a groove about the sixth inning,” said Moyer, who is 10-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 appearances against Cleveland. “I don’t think I threw the ball well the first five innings. Missed a bunch of locations, made some bad pitches. That happens and you still have to pitch. You still have to compete.”
Jake Westbrook (2-2, 5.60) will be looking to get back on track Friday when he takes the mound for Cleveland (15-14). The right-hander was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA after his first two starts of the season, but is winless in his last four outings, posting a 7.89 ERA in those contests.
Westbrook entered the seventh inning of his last start with a 4-1 lead Sunday against Texas, but gave up three straight hits before being pulled. The Rangers went on to score six runs in the inning en route to an 8-4 victory.
“I felt strong, but elevated a couple pitches that got hit,” Westbrook said. “That’s the difference between a good pitcher and a great one—the ability to fight through the late innings and finish it off.”
Westbrook is 4-3 in eight games against Seattle despite a 9.17 ERA in those outings.
Cleveland beat Oakland 14-3 on Wednesday in the opener of its eight-game road trip before falling 12-4 to the Athletics on Thursday afternoon.
Indians slugger Travis Hafner homered leading off the ninth inning Thursday for his fourth homer in four games and 11th of the season. He has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .393 with the four homers and 14 RBIs during that stretch, but is 1-for-10 with four strikeouts against Moyer.
Seattle won two of three in Cleveland from April 11-13, scoring 25 runs in the series. The Indians, however, have won nine of 13 meetings between the teams at Safeco since 2004.