Brewers-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners have been able to push some runs across the plate, but their starters have been struggling.

It's been just the opposite for the Milwaukee Brewers, who visit Seattle for the first time in 16 years Friday night.

The Mariners (53-61) open this three-game interleague series after dropping two of three to Toronto. Seattle totaled three runs in back-to-back losses before rallying from five down Wednesday in a 9-7 victory.

Humberto Quintero's two-run homer was the big blow in a six-run fifth inning as the Mariners posted their largest comeback win since April 11, 2011.

"We got kind of shut down the last couple games, but overall, we've been swinging the bats really well one through nine," outfielder Michael Saunders told the Mariners' official website.

Seattle is batting .273 with 4.6 runs per game in its last 13. Saunders has four homers and 10 RBIs during that stretch, while Kendrys Morales is hitting .436 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

The Mariners' bullpen has yielded one earned run in 18 2-3 innings over the last five games, but their starters have a 7.18 ERA in the past six.

"Our job as a pitching staff is to keep us in the game, regardless of whether we have a lead, we're behind, whatever it is, our job is to keep the score as low as possible," Friday's pitcher Joe Saunders said.

Saunders (10-10, 4.58 ERA) avoided a third straight losing start Sunday by throwing six innings of two-run ball in a 3-2 win at Baltimore. The left-hander last faced the Brewers in 2011 while with Arizona.

The last six games between these teams have been in Milwaukee, with the Brewers winning four times. They are making their first visit to Seattle since Aug. 11-12, 1997.

Milwaukee (49-66) will be without second baseman Rickie Weeks, who is headed to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring suffered in Wednesday's 6-1 win at San Francisco.

Jeff Bianchi started in Weeks' place in Thursday's 4-1 defeat, but Scooter Gennett could be at second base Friday after getting called up from Triple-A.

"It's too bad," manager Ron Roenicke said. "... It seems like there's something that always comes up."

The injury-plagued Brewers, though, could have third baseman Aramis Ramirez (sprained left knee) back soon. Milwaukee needs all the help it can get after hitting .198 and scoring 12 runs in splitting four games with the Giants.

"(Ramirez) feels like he's ready to go," Roenicke said. "Whether that's (Friday), whether that's Tuesday (at Texas), whether that's Saturday or Sunday, I don't know. But he's ready to go."

So is Kyle Lohse (7-7, 3.23), who takes the mound after Milwaukee's starters posted a 2.01 ERA in the previous series.

Lohse is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his last four outings - all Milwaukee wins - but he struggled in Sunday's 8-5 victory over Washington, needing 93 pitches to get through five innings of three-run ball.

The right-hander permitted a career high-tying eight earned runs in his last start in Seattle, a 9-1 loss for Cincinnati on June 23, 2007.

Michael Morse is 7 for 15 with a home run, Quintero is 6 for 16 with a homer and Raul Ibanez has gone deep three times in 33 at-bats against Lohse.

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