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Mets-Mariners Preview

AP - Sports

The last time Bartolo Colon lost in Seattle, Taijuan Walker had just turned nine years old.

While the New York Mets look for Colon to continue his dominance at Safeco Field, Walker tries to prove he's ready to be a consistent part of the Mariners rotation in the finale of this three-game set Wednesday.

Colon (8-8, 4.12 ERA) is 11-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last 12 starts in Seattle, a stretch that started with Cleveland in Game 1 of the 2001 AL division series. His only career loss there came about six weeks earlier.

The right-hander's mastery of the Mariners (53-47) hasn't been limited to Safeco recently, as he's 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last five overall matchups.

Maybe a return to Seattle can get Colon back on track. He's 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in four starts after going 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA over his previous seven.

A stomach ailment led to one of his shortest outings of the season Friday. Colon squandered a 4-0 lead by giving up four runs in the fifth inning before being pulled in a 5-4 win at San Diego to open this 10-game road trip. It was the first time in 13 games that he's failed to reach the sixth inning.

"He didn't feel very good," manager Terry Collins said. "The fifth inning wore him down a little bit. Usually as the game goes on he gets better."

While Colon's future with the Mets (47-53) may be in doubt ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the 21-year-old Walker is trying to solidify his in Seattle.

The right-hander (1-1, 3.60) is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but he's spent much of the year in the minors after starting it on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

He won both of his starts at Triple-A Tacoma following his most recent demotion from the majors, allowing three runs in 10 innings while showing improved control. He lasted just four innings in his last start for Seattle on July 6, yielding one run and two hits with a career-high five walks in a 1-0 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

"Obviously I need to be better," Walker told MLB's official website. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to be better, too.

"I definitely just want to get on a routine and just roll with it. It kind of sucks being out for a couple weeks, getting back and then shut down again, back up and down. It'd be nice to pitch well and start getting on a roll."

Facing the slumping New York offense could be just what Walker needs.

The Mets are hitting .180 with six runs over their last four games, though they snapped a three-game losing streak with Tuesday's 3-1 win.

Despite New York's recent struggles at the plate, Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud continue to give the lineup some punch.

Duda homered Tuesday and is batting .348 in his last six games. D'Arnaud is hitting .391 over his last six after getting his first career triple to drive in a run.

The Mariners are getting even better production from Dustin Ackley, who is hitting .476 with four doubles in his last five games. The left fielder has five hits and two RBIs in this series, and he's 4 for 13 (.308) versus Colon.

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