The Seattle Mariners responded positively to some off-field issues to overcome another quiet offensive effort in their most recent victory.
The Mariners look to win consecutive games for the first time in two weeks when they continue their road series with the struggling Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Hours after hitting coach Jeff Pentland was fired and the team held a 30-minute, closed-door meeting, Seattle (23-41) held on for a 10-inning, 3-2 win in the opener of this three-game set on Monday.
Although the Mariners avoided a third straight loss, they have scored fewer than five runs in six of their last seven games and hitting just .249 as a team. Pentland was replaced by 70-year-old former manager Lee Elia, a consultant with the team who was the club’s hitting coach from 1993-97.
“This team hasn’t been performing at the level that we’re capable of performing,” outfielder Raul Ibanez said. “It means it’s time for all of us to pick it up. It’s been time.”
Manager John McLaren said the pregame meeting was intended to lighten the mood for a club that owns the worst record in the majors and won for just the fifth time in 19 games.
“We talked about several situations, everything that’s going on,” McLaren said. “I just emphasized to them that we need to get back to where we feel good about themselves and enjoy ourselves.”
Jose Vidro had a two-run homer in the first inning Monday, and Miguel Cairo executed a perfect safety squeeze to score the go-ahead run in the 10th for the Mariners. Seattle is now in position to win consecutive games for the first time since May 27-28 against Boston.
To accomplish that, the Mariners will need starter Carlos Silva (3-6, 5.96 ERA) to turn things around and avoid a seventh straight losing decision.
Silva, who signed a $48 million, four-year contract in the offseason, allowed five runs and eight hits in eight innings of a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
“I’m going crazy right now,” said Silva, who is 0-6 with a 7.88 ERA in his last nine starts.
The right-hander is 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA lifetime against Toronto (33-33), which has lost seven of its last nine.
“If we’re going to get to where we want to be, we’ve got to win these games,” shortstop David Eckstein said. “You never say it’s too late, but we need to start winning.”
Rios has hit safely in 10 straight games, batting .333 (14-for-42) during that span. He is just 3-for-15 lifetime, though, versus Silva.
Toronto’s Dustin McGowan (4-4, 4.26 ERA) looks for a third consecutive winning decision Tuesday despite a rocky outing against the New York Yankees in his last start. He allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings last Thursday, although he didn’t factor in the decision of the Blue Jays’ 9-8 loss.
The right-hander, who is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA at home in 2008, is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against Seattle.