San Diego (23-20) at Seattle (19-25)

  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun May 21, 2006
  • TV: Ch4, KSTW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chan Ho Park has made the most of his recent outings at Safeco Field.

He’ll try to win his fifth straight decision at Safeco on Sunday afternoon when the San Diego Padres try to avoid a three-game sweep by the Seattle Mariners.

Park (2-1, 3.27 ERA) is 4-0 with a sparkling 1.59 ERA in six starts at Seattle since losing his first visit to Safeco on July 9, 2000. He’s limited the Mariners to a .194 batting average and no homers in his unbeaten stretch— all with the Texas Rangers.

The right-hander has yet to lose on the road this season, going 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA in three starts.

He was matched up with NL wins leader Brandon Webb in his last outing and allowed four runs—one earned—and five hits over seven innings, earning no decision in a 5-4 loss at Arizona on Monday.

“He’s a competitor,” catcher Josh Bard said about Park. “You could see that in the way he turned it up a notch and gave us a chance to win the game. I love working with him.”

Since Bard was acquired from Boston on May 1, he has caught all three starts by Park. The backup catcher could be in the lineup again Sunday since manager Bruce Bochy has used veteran Mike Piazza as the designated hitter in the first two games of this series.

“A lot depends on Mike,” Bochy said. “I will always check with him.”

Bard is hitting .357 (10-for-28) in 13 games with San Diego (23-20).

The Padres’ battery will try to a better job of keeping Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima in the ballpark. Johjima homered for the second straight game for Seattle (19-25) in a 6-3 victory on Saturday.

San Diego has dropped four out of its last five games on its nine-game road trip after opening it with a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

One reason the Padres have had trouble in this series is Brian Giles’ 1-for-8 performance. Giles began the series on an eight-game hitting streak, in which he was 10-for-30.

Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is batting .400 (24-for-60) during a 14-game hitting streak. Suzuki has struggled at home against San Diego in his career, though, hitting .206 in 14 games.

Felix Hernandez (2-5, 5.19) will make the first interleague start of his career for Seattle. Hernandez allowed career highs of 10 runs and 11 hits over four-plus innings in a 12-6 loss at Oakland on Tuesday.

“My pitches have all been good, but basically I couldn’t control them,” Hernandez said through an interpreter. “Every pitch I threw went up.”

A return to Safeco Field could help the 20-year-old right-hander, who is 1-3 with a 2.55 ERA at home this year. Hernandez has struggled on the road, posting an 8.68 ERA and allowing opponents to bat .394.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Park PIT vs. F. Hernandez SEA
7-7 Record 12-14
4.81 ERA 4.52
96 K 176
44 BB 60
1.39 WHIP 1.34