Mariners-Padres Preview

The Associated PressJune 24, 2012

The Seattle Mariners finally defeated the San Diego Padres this season.

If it wasn't for one pitch, Hector Noesi could have defeated them earlier this month.

Noesi will try to end the worst stretch of his young career Sunday when the Mariners and Padres complete their interleague schedules at Petco Park.

After losing three straight to visiting San Diego from June 12-14 - the Padres' first sweep of the season - and having their four-game winning streak at Petco Park snapped with Friday's 9-5 loss, Seattle (31-42) bounced back with a 5-1 victory Saturday.

Felix Hernandez struck out 10 in seven innings after Mariners starters had a combined 11.17 ERA with seven home runs allowed on the first four games of the trip.

"Felix stepped up,'' manager Eric Wedge said. "We needed him to. He is our guy.''

Noesi (2-8, 5.69 ERA) will start the finale of the six-game stretch outside Seattle after opening the trip Monday by giving up six runs and a career-high nine hits in a 7-1 loss to Arizona.

Since his May 6 victory against Minnesota, the right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts.

"I have to be smarter. I have to be more consistent,'' Noesi said Monday after falling to 0-4 with an 8.06 ERA in eight road starts. "The last start was better. I was more aggressive.''

The start he was referring to was a 1-0 loss to San Diego on June 13 when he allowed the game's only run - a Yonder Alonso seventh-inning homer.

While the Mariners go for their third consecutive 9-9 mark in interleague play, the Padres (25-47), who have split 14 games against the AL this season, have a chance to finish with a winning interleague record for just the third time.

Also trying to build momentum for a 10-game trip that begins Monday against Houston, San Diego will give the ball to Edinson Volquez (3-7, 4.11) in the series finale.

The right-hander is 1-5 with a 5.72 ERA in his last seven starts - walking at least three in each of those outings - after giving up a season high-tying six runs in five-plus innings of Tuesday's 7-3 loss to Texas.

"The (four) walks tonight put him behind the eight-ball," manager Bud Black told the Padres' official website.

Despite his struggles, Volquez can draw on recent success against the Mariners when the gets the ball Sunday. He improved to 2-0 in four career starts versus Seattle by throwing 6 2-3 strong innings in a 6-2 victory at Safeco Field on June 14.

Ichiro Suzuki, 4 for 14 off Volquez, is batting .526 (10 for 19) on the trip and .407 (11 for 27) while hitting safely in six straight against San Diego.

Padres infielders Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera, who both went 2 for 4 on Saturday, each have one hit in three at-bats against Noesi.

The Padres, losers of eight of 10 at Petco Park, have dropped 15 of 19 as the home team in this interleague matchup.