Suzuki looks to continue his hot hitting and help extend the Mariners’ season-high, six-game winning streak when they face Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays in the middle game of a weekend series at Safeco Field.
Seattle (43-33) is trying to win seven straight games for the first time since a nine-game run from May 27-June 5, 2003. The Mariners have also won eight out of their last nine and Suzuki, who leads the majors with 115 hits, is batting .419 (13-for-31) in that span.
The leadoff hitter, however, is just 5-for-22 (.227) in his career against Halladay (9-2, 4.25 ERA). It’s his sixth-lowest average against any pitcher he has at least 20 at-bats against - a list that includes Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
Halladay is 5-0 with a 4.08 ERA in his last six outings, but has enjoyed tremendous run support in winning his last four starts. The Blue Jays have scored 37 runs for him in those outings, including an 8-5 win at Minnesota on Monday.
“The biggest thing is offensively we’ve really swung the bats well the last few games,” said Halladay, who allowed five runs over seven innings. “It’s a nice feeling going out there knowing you don’t always have to be perfect and you can grind your way through some of those and we’re still going to find a way.”
The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his last six starts against the Mariners.
Seattle moved 10 games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season with a 5-3 victory on Friday to open this series. Jose Guillen had three hits and drove in two runs and closer J.J. Putz got the final five outs for his 23rd save in as many chances.
It marked the seventh time this season, and third time in his last four appearances, that Putz recorded more than three outs.
“We can’t do that very often. I’ve said that before, but I really mean that,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “If we want to keep J.J. effective and rested, we can’t go an inning and two-thirds saves.”
Putz has a 0.95 ERA for the year and has not allowed a run over his last 12 appearances spanning 13 2-3 innings.
Seattle’s Miguel Batista (7-6, 4.85) will face Toronto (39-40) for the first time since the Blue Jays traded him on Dec. 27, 2005, with Orlando Hudson to Arizona for Troy Glaus and a minor-leaguer. Batista went 15-21 with a 4.61 ERA and 36 saves with the Blue Jays from 2004-05.
The right-hander is winless in his last three outings despite pitching well, going 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA. He allowed two runs over six innings on Sunday in a 3-2 win over Cincinnati.
Batista went 1-2 with a 1.10 ERA against Toronto in three appearances, including two starts, from 1999-2002.
Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells hopes to end another dismal month on a positive note. He’s batting .225 in June after a horrendous May in which he hit .221 and only drove in seven runs.