Astros-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners' Jeremy Bonderman was all smiles after earning his first win in three seasons with an impressive effort last week.

Prized prospect Mike Zunino has plenty to be excited about, too.

Zunino could make his big league debut Wednesday night as the Mariners go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Houston Astros, who try to avoid a season-worst seventh consecutive loss.

After giving up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings during a 10-0 loss at Minnesota on June 2 in his first start since 2010, Bonderman (1-1, 6.75 ERA) allowed three hits over six innings of one-run ball to beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Friday.

"I'm definitely very happy with getting the win, and being back on a big league field is something you don't take for granted," Bonderman told MLB's official website. He's battled several shoulder injuries throughout his career and underwent right elbow reconstruction in April 2012.

"It's just fun to have the opportunity to go out and play."

Hoping to build on his latest performance, Bonderman could be throwing to Zunino, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday. Drafted No. 3 overall in 2012, Zunino hit .238 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs in 47 games.

"I don't think I could have pictured this a year ago, that this is where I'd be," he said. "It's exceeded everything I've ever dreamed of. So I'll just embrace it and take it as it comes.

"If I can help the ball team in any way, that to me is being ready. That's what I'm going to try to do."

The 22-year-old Zunino, promoted earlier than expected following an injury to backup catcher Jesus Sucre, is expected to split time with Kelly Shoppach.

"He's a mature kid," general manager Jack Zduriencik said of Zunino. "I don't think anybody here is expecting miracles. We're not looking like he's the answer. We're just looking as we put this together and where we're at right now, we know he's going to be a guy that is counted on going forward. ... So we'll bring him up here, give him a chance to play and see how it works out."

Seattle (29-37) finds itself on the verge of completing its first sweep of the season after Aaron Harang threw a two-hitter in Tuesday's 4-0 win. Raul Ibanez also came up big with his team-leading 13th homer, his second in as many nights.

Owners of the AL's worst record, the Astros (22-44) are already mired in their fourth six-game losing streak of the year. Houston has been outscored 23-7 while hitting .186 during its current skid.

"When a team is going through a bit of a funk and you have that happening as an offense, sometimes guys get frustrated and try to do too much," said outfielder Trevor Crowe, who is 2 for his last 18. "We may be going through a bit of that right now."

The Astros will try to bounce back behind Jordan Lyles (3-1, 4.03), who is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA over his last five starts. The right-hander allowed two runs over seven innings Friday in a 4-2 loss at Kansas City.

"He's been outstanding," manager Bo Porter said. "He is really maturing and understanding himself more as a pitcher and doing a tremendous job."

As Lyles makes his first start against Seattle, Bonderman gets his first versus Houston.

What to Read Next