The San Diego Padres have had the best pitching staff in the majors this season, and they seem to be only getting better.
San Diego has a major league-low 3.09 staff ERA - 1.13 while allowing opponents two runs or fewer in each of the last five games. The Padres (23-19) have won four of those contests, including an 8-1 victory over the Mariners (18-19) in Friday’s opener.
Maddux (3-2, 3.20 ERA) has been a big part of the success, throwing a complete-game five hitter on Monday, when he walked none and struck out five in a 7-1 win over Cincinnati. The 41-year-old right-hander recorded his 109th complete game and first since Sept, 27, 2005.
He also picked up win No. 336, putting him six behind tying Tim Keefe for ninth on the career list, and helped his own cause with three sacrifice bunts to tie a franchise record.
“You can probably turn back the clock five, 10, 15 years, and you’ve seen games like that out of him before,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Maybe a little different style, but still the same substance. He was efficient, threw strikes, had them off balance, pitched in, pitched out, pitched up, pitched down. It was an outstanding game.”
Maddux is 19-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 37 interleague starts - tied for the most wins among active pitchers - but went 0-2 with a 6.63 ERA against the AL in 2006.
The future hall of famer lost his only career start versus the Mariners on June 15, 2003, despite allowing just two runs and five hits over seven innings.
The Padres snapped a five-game losing streak in Seattle on Friday, as they hit a season-high seven doubles and every starter recorded at least one hit. Russell Branyan hit a three-run homer while rookie third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff had a two-run double to improve to 8-for-17 over the last six games - boosting his batting average 62 points to .170.
“The last 10 days he’s seeing the ball better, his takes are better and his swing is better,” said Black, whose team scored its most runs since April 24.
The Mariners have been outscored 20-4 while losing their last three games.
In Friday’s defeat, Ichiro Suzuki stole three bases and went 2-for-4. He is batting .468 (22-for-47) during an 11-game hitting streak.
Seattle will hand the ball to Horacio Ramirez (3-2, 6.40), who looks to build on a strong outing. The left-hander held the New York Yankees to one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 2-1 win on Sunday.
He bounced back after giving up seven runs and 11 hits in each of his previous two starts. Ramirez also improved to 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three home starts this season, compared with an 0-2 mark and 13.17 ERA in his three road outings.
“The dimensions,” Ramirez said. “I wish I could pitch every game here.”
Ramirez is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA in three career starts versus the Padres.