The Seattle Mariners have been strong at the plate all season, but they’re taking it to another level these days.
The surging Mariners look to match their season-high four-game winning streak when they continue a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
Seattle (29-25) is batting .285 this season - second-best in the majors behind Detroit’s .287 - and has recorded 10 or more hits in 30 of its 54 games. The Mariners used a four-run rally with two outs in the eighth inning to beat the Orioles 7-4 in Monday’s series opener and move four games above .500 for the first time this season.
It was the eighth win in 11 games for Seattle, which is averaging 7.7 runs and batting .329 during that stretch. Jose Vidro, who wasn’t expected to play Monday because of a bone bruise in his left index finger, had a game-tying pinch hit in the eighth.
“All the pain goes away in a situation like that,” Vidro said. “You don’t think about anything. You just go up there and try to hit. I’m glad it happened for me there, in that situation.”
Ichiro Suzuki then hit the go-ahead double, and finished 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs to boost his batting average to .333. His homer came in the first inning and was the 25th leadoff home run of his career, tying him with Brian Downing for 14th on the all-time list.
Suzuki, who served as designated hitter Monday to give him some rest, is batting .376 with five homers and 19 RBIs lifetime versus Baltimore (27-31). Seattle shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt has also been hot recently, batting .367 (22-for-60) with one homer, seven doubles and nine RBIs during a 16-game hitting streak.
While the Mariners are going for their third four-game winning streak of 2007, the Orioles are trying to avoid their third five-game skid. They haven’t won since Brian Burres (3-2, 3.08 ERA) beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on Thursday to give Baltimore a season-high sixth straight victory.
The left-hander will try to build on the first back-to-back wins of his career when he takes the ball Tuesday. Burres has allowed just two runs and six hits over 11 innings to beat Oakland and Los Angeles.
“He’s a kid that’s sneaky quick and has a full package of pitches,” pitching coach Leo Mazzone told the Orioles’ official Web site. “He has an assortment of pitches and he uses all of them. The gun will say 88 or 89 (mph), but he looks faster.”
Burres has limited teams to two or fewer runs in four straight outings.
The Mariners will counter with Cha Seung Baek (3-2, 4.93), who is trying to win his third straight start. The right-hander is coming off a 9-5 victory over Texas on Thursday, despite allowing five runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Baek will have a tough task trying to slow Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts is hitting .459 (17-for-37) over his last 10 games, and had three doubles with a run scored Monday.