The Seattle Mariners are hoping their ability Sunday to salvage the finale of an otherwise forgettable four-game series against the Minnesota Twins can serve as the start of a turnaround. The Texas Rangers are aiming to prove a second straight series victory has marked the beginning of their own reset.
A pair of American League West rivals will meet Monday night when the Mariners visit the Rangers in the opener of a three-game series. Right-hander Mike Leake (3-4, 4.00 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Seattle against Texas left-hander Mike Minor (4-3, 2.61).
Both teams earned resounding victories Sunday, as the Mariners beat the visiting Twins 7-4 and the host Rangers mounted a 10th-inning comeback to edge the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4.
The win provided the Mariners some much-needed relief after they'd lost the first three games of the series to the AL Central-leading Twins by a combined margin of 36-11.
"We just hadn't played well the first three games of the series and the guys were locked in today," Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters afterward.
Now the task for the Mariners is to ensure the victory wasn't a one-time thing. Seattle started the season 18-11 but has the worst record in baseball (5-15) since April 27.
The Mariners have won just one series in that span. Their two-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics on May 13-14 also represents their lone winning streak over their last 20 contests.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have won four of six against the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals dating back to last Tuesday. Texas won just two of the seven series it played between April 19 and May 12, a span in which it went 7-14.
"That was an amazing team win," starting pitcher Drew Smyly told reporters after the Rangers won a game in which they received a go-ahead pinch-hit home run from Danny Santana in the eighth inning and a game-tying pinch-hit RBI single from Willie Calhoun in the 10th inning before Nomar Mazara won it with a sacrifice fly three batters later.
"Good series win. That's a good team over there -- to take two out of three from them, that's good," Smyly added.
Leake snapped a six-start winless streak in his most recent appearance last Tuesday, when he gave up three runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings as the Mariners beat the A's 4-3. The 31-year-old went 0-4 with a 4.89 ERA in between victories.
Minor earned the win in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he allowed one run over five innings as the Rangers cruised past the Royals 6-1. He entered Sunday ranked among the AL's top 10 in both ERA and strikeouts (tied for 10th with 56).
Leake is 1-2 with a 3.64 ERA in seven career starts against the Rangers. Minor is 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA in nine appearances (six starts) against the Mariners.
--Field Level Media