After finishing June with the best record in the majors, the Seattle Mariners look to carry some momentum into this month.
The Mariners try to win their eighth straight game for the first time in more than four years when they open July on Sunday with the finale of a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Although Seattle (44-33) dropped a season-high six straight games from June 13-19, it has since won nine of 10 to finish June 18-9.
The Mariners defeated the Blue Jays 8-3 on Saturday, and are outscoring their opponents 44-21 during their winning streak. They have not won eight straight games since reeling off nine in a row May 27-June 5, 2003.
Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-5 on Saturday, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, batting a phenomenal .509 (27-for-53) in that span. He also hit .427 in June—his highest effort in a month since he batted .463 in August 2004.
Jeff Weaver (2-6, 7.71 ERA) has turned his season around and looks to win three straight starts for the first time in nearly two years when he takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale.
Weaver lost his first six starts of the season, posting a whopping 14.32 ERA in those games, and was subsequently placed on the disabled list for a month with right shoulder tendinitis on May 11.
Since coming off the DL, he has been solid, allowing three runs or less in each of his four outings, and lowering his ERA by nearly seven runs.
The right-hander gave up two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-4 victory over Boston on Monday to win his second straight, and has not won three consecutive starts since Aug. 18-28, 2005 while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Just watching him, you can see the difference in his stuff now compared to early in the season,” Seattle second baseman Willie Bloomquist told the team’s official Web site. “It’s nice to have him back and he’s going to be a big part of this the rest of the way.”
In his only outing against the Blue Jays last season, Weaver gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 loss for the Los Angeles Angels on May 8. He is 5-9 with a 5.68 ERA in 16 games - 15 starts - lifetime against Toronto.
The Blue Jays (39-41) have lost three straight games, and have not dropped four in a row since their season-high nine-game skid May 1-10.
Third baseman Troy Glaus is only 5-for-33 (.152) in his last nine games, as his batting average has dropped 25 points to .276. Glaus may be rested against the Mariners in the series finale, as he’s batting a mere .065 (2-for-31) with 10 strikeouts in his career against Weaver.
Shaun Marcum (4-2, 3.13) once again hopes for some more run support when he takes the ball on Sunday.
Marcum has a .194 opponent batting average and a 1.96 ERA in his last six starts, but is only 2-0 in those games. He has received one run or less of support in four of those outings, and on Tuesday he gave up one run, six hits and one walk in a season-high eight innings against Minnesota, but was denied a win, as Toronto lost 2-1 in 12 innings.
“He’s turned into a heck of a pitcher,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “He gives us a chance to win every time we go out and that’s the main thing.”
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four games against the Mariners, and in his only career start against them, he yielded three runs and nine hits - including two homers - in just 2 2-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat last Sept. 12.
Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre is 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles lifetime against Marcum.
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