Seattle’s surging offense has been fueling its latest winning streak.
The Mariners will try for their fifth straight victory on Tuesday when they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Seattle (70-52) has scored 32 runs during its four-game win streak, including 20 in its last two games.
The Mariners, who swept a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, opened this series with a 9-4 win on Monday to move a season-high 18 games over .500. Seattle had 15 hits, its fourth straight game with at least 11.
The victory opened a stretch of 17 of 20 games on the road that includes stops in New York and Detroit and a home series against the Los Angeles Angels. Seattle trails the first-place Angels by two games in the AL West and leads the AL wild-card race by 1 1/2 over the Yankees.
“It’s a nice way to start,” left fielder Raul Ibanez said. “We played well, we swung the bats well and our pitchers did a great job. We’re playing well as a club and that’s the important thing.”
Ibanez went 3-for-5 with two homers in the opener and leads the AL with nine homers in August. He is batting .431 (28-for-65) with 20 RBIs this month and is hitting .357 (10-for-28) with four homers in seven games against Minnesota (62-62) this season.
Jose Vidro, who entered Monday’s game hitting .533 in his career against the Twins, went 0-for-4. Teammate Adrian Beltre, though, had two hits and is 8-for-17 (.471) during Seattle’s four-game win streak.
The Twins lost for the second time in six games and fell 6 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland. They were coming off a three-game series against Texas in which they managed only three runs.
“We continue to play. We continue to battle. We scored more runs today than we did the whole last series,” right fielder Michael Cuddyer said.
Minnesota will try to get its offense going against Jarrod Washburn (8-10, 4.16 ERA), who is trying for his first win since July 4. He gave up two runs in seven innings on Wednesday, but lost 6-1 to Minnesota, falling to 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA in seven starts since his last victory.
“I hope I’m due,” Washburn told the Mariners’ official Web site. “I’ve had some games that I pitched well, and had some games that I didn’t pitch well and didn’t deserve to win. It has been a little of both, but hopefully things will turn around in one of these starts.”
Washburn’s second-half swoon doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering he is 32-40 with a 4.30 ERA in his career after the All-Star break. In the first half, he is 59-41 with a 3.88 ERA.
Washburn has lost four straight decisions in a single season for the first time since June 9-26, 2003, when he dropped four consecutive starts. He has never lost five decisions in a row in one season.
Washburn is 5-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 career starts against the Twins, but has lost his last three starts against them, including two this season.
As he was in his last start, Washburn will be opposed by Minnesota’s Scott Baker (6-5, 4.53 ERA).
Baker didn’t get a decision in Wednesday’s game as he allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings. He bounced back after allowing six runs in a 10-1 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 10.
“I was fighting some mechanical issues toward the beginning,” Baker told the Twins’ official site. “I had to decide just to let it fly and just not worry about that stuff. Once I was able to do that, I got in a little groove and everything took care of itself.”
He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners.