No matter how they’ve played during the rest of the season, the Seattle Mariners have always played well in their interleague matchups.
The Mariners look to continue their success against the National League when they open a three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Friday night at Safeco Field.
Since it started in 1997, the Mariners (18-18) own the fifth-best record in interleague play at 98-78. Last season, Seattle went 14-4 against the NL - including 5-1 in its home-and home series with the Padres (22-19).
San Diego, meanwhile, is 74-87 in interleague play, including 7-8 last season.
The Mariners’ success in interleague hasn’t always carried over to the rest of their schedule. They have finished in last place in the NL West the last three seasons despite a 33-21 record against the NL over that span.
This year, the Mariners are off to a strong start and are tied for second place in the division, three games behind the Los Angeles Angels. They dropped two of three against the Angels heading into the weekend, including Thursday’s 7-3 loss.
Ben Broussard, who started because Raul Ibanez had back spasms, homered for Seattle and Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-5 and has nine hits in his last three games. However, Suzuki, who is hitting .465 (20-for-43) during a 10-game hitting streak, was caught stealing in the seventh, ending an AL record streak of 45 consecutive successful steals, five short of Vince Coleman’s major league record.
The Padres have won four of their last six, including Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Cincinnati. Kevin Kouzmanoff went 3-for-3 to raise his batting average 26 points to .163 and drew a bases-loaded, game-winning walk.
“How ‘bout that Kooz? Big game for Kooz. I’m happy for him,” manager Bud Black said. “I’ve seen better swings, better takes. The ball’s coming off his bat better. We’re seeing it in early work. We’re seeing it in BP. And we’re seeing it in general.”
Mike Cameron also went 3-for-4 and scored two runs for the Padres, who rank second-to-last in the NL with a .238 battling average.
Chris Young (4-3, 3.11 ERA) will start the series opener for San Diego after allowing five runs - one earned - in 5 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 5-0 loss to St. Louis. The 6-foot-10 right-hander extended his home scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up all of the runs in the third inning.
“It wasn’t my best outing, it wasn’t my worst,” Young told the Padres’ Web site. “I was a little inconsistent and fell behind too many hitters.”
Young hasn’t been nearly as good on the road this season, going 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA in five starts outside of San Diego. However, he gave up just two runs in six innings in a 4-2 win in Atlanta in his last start away from home on May 7.
In his two previous starts at Safeco, Young is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA. He is 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in five starts overall against the Mariners.
Seattle will counter with Miguel Batista (3-3, 6.98), who allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 2 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 7-2 home loss to the New York Yankees. Batista, who had allowed just two runs in each of his previous three starts, was hit so hard that he thought he was tipping his pitches.
“Two or three guys on a team can get hot. But the whole team?” he said. “No, something happened. … They (found) out what I was throwing. Something I have to fix.”
Batista is 3-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 11 starts, against the Padres. He has struggled at home this season, going 2-2 with an 8.57 ERA in four starts.