The Padres (36-24) lost Friday’s series opener 6-5 in 11 innings, snapping their season-high five-game winning streak.
Despite the loss, San Diego has been playing top-notch baseball. It is a major league-best 12-4 since May 22, and owns a one-game lead over Arizona at the top of the NL West. The Padres have not lost consecutive games since dropping three in a row May 8-10.
However, the Mariners (31-26) are also surging.
Seattle is tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the second-best record in the majors since May 22 (12-5), although it trails the first-place Angels by 5 1/2 games in the AL West.
Raul Ibanez homered leading off the 11th inning to give the Mariners the win on Friday. It was just his second home run of the season, and first since April 19 - a span of 159 at-bats for Ibanez, who had a career-high 33 homers a season ago.
“If there’s a time to do it, this was the time,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Now that Ibanez has found his power stroke, the Mariners hope Saturday’s starter Jeff Weaver (0-6, 14.32 ERA) has solved his control problems after spending nearly a month on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.
Weaver has lost all six of his starts, and hasn’t pitched since May 10, when he was tagged for six runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-3 loss to Detroit. The right-hander has yielded six runs or more in five of his outings, and has allowed 50 hits in only 22 innings this season for a .459 opponent batting average.
Weaver faced San Diego in the NLDS last season for the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, allowing two hits in five innings of a 2-0 Game 2 victory on Oct. 5. He is 3-4 with a 3.64 ERA in nine career regular-season starts against the Padres.
San Diego’s David Wells (3-3, 4.79) makes his first interleague start of the season, coincidentally against the last AL team he faced.
Wells hasn’t pitched against an AL team since Aug. 26 of last season, when he faced Seattle in his final start before being traded from Boston. The burly left-hander allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 4-3 loss to the Mariners, but was not a factor in the decision.
This season, Seattle is a major league-best 11-3 when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.
The 44-year-old Wells gave up three runs and five hits in five innings of a 7-3 win over Washington on Sunday.
He has been sharp at Petco Park, allowing two runs or fewer in four of his five starts there, but only has one win to show for it.
Wells is 11-11 with a save and a 4.47 ERA in 43 games - 28 starts - lifetime against the Mariners.
Ichiro Suzuki is batting .438 (7-for-16) in his career against Wells, and went 2-for-6 on Friday.