The Seattle Mariners are closing in on their longest win streak in five years, but that attempt will come against a red-hot pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Mariners will seek a seventh consecutive victory and sweep of the Blue Jays on Wednesday night while trying to hand Carlos Villanueva his first loss of the season.
Dustin Ackley got Seattle off to a strong start during a 7-2 win Tuesday with a leadoff home run and matched a career high with three RBIs. Brendan Ryan added three hits and drove in a run to help the Mariners boost their batting average to .314 during the win streak.
Seattle is 28th in the majors with a .233 average.
"One thing that's important to me is you're not just doing it one way or another," manager Eric Wedge said. "You have to have multiple ways to win ballgames up here if you're going to be a consistent winner and you're seeing us do that."
The Mariners (49-57) will be trying to win seven in a row for the first time since an eight-game run June 23-July 1, 2007. They capped that streak with their most recent three-game sweep of Toronto.
Seattle, though, will have to face Villanueva (6-0, 2.92 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA in five games since joining the rotation June 29. The right-hander gave up two solo homers and two other hits over five innings during an 8-3 victory against Detroit on Friday.
"What he has shown repeatedly is that he is going to keep the game under control," manager John Farrell said. "He sets the tone. He throws strikes and is capable of making the key pitch in tough situations."
Villanueva, who has posted a 1.93 ERA while winning four consecutive outings, will pitch opposite another streaking starter, Blake Beavan (6-6, 5.20), during his first start against the Mariners.
Beavan has won all three of his starts since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on July 17 and has allowed one run in each of his last two outings, beating Kansas City 6-1 on Friday.
"I'm pleased, but I'm not satisfied," Beavan told the team's official website. "I want to keep building on each start and get back to where I need to be, which is competing and getting deep in the game and giving our guys a chance to win a ballgame every night."
Beavan is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against Toronto (51-52). He gave up three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-5 road win April 27.
Edwin Encarnacion is 3 for 4 with two homers against the right-hander, including one in April, and Colby Rasmus is 3 for 4 with a home run.
Ryan, batting .471 (8 for 17) during the win streak, is 5 for 8 with two doubles and a triple against Villanueva.