Dodgers-Mariners Preview


It didn't matter who took the mound for the Seattle Mariners in their weekend series opener. The Los Angeles Dodgers couldn't muster a single hit for the first time in more than 18 years.

After completing the most unconventional of the four no-hitters tossed in the major leagues this season, the Mariners seek a 10th victory in their last 13 meetings with the Dodgers on Saturday night at Safeco Field.

Seattle used six pitchers in Friday's 1-0 win over the Dodgers to join the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver, the Chicago White Sox's Phil Humber - a perfect game against the Mariners on April 21 - and the New York Mets' Johan Santana in throwing no-hitters this season.

Kevin Millwood left with a groin injury before the seventh inning, but five relievers finished the job, culminating with Tom Wilhelmsen getting NL RBI leader Andre Ethier to ground out in the ninth.

It was the first no-hitter thrown by the Mariners since current Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio blanked Boston on April 22, 1993.

"I just tried to block it out, stay within myself and execute pitches,'' Wilhelmsen said after earning his third save. "How tremendous was that, man?''

Seattle (27-33), which has won six of nine all-time home meetings versus the Dodgers, needed only Kyle Seager's single to drive in Ichiro Suzuki (3 for 4) in the seventh inning to also earn its sixth victory in nine games overall.

"That was unbelievable. I've never been a part of anything like that with that many guys coming in and keeping the no-hitter intact,'' said Seager, who is batting .371 over his last eight games.

The Dodgers' four-game winning streak came to a resounding end, as they got no-hit for the first time since Atlanta's Kent Mercker accomplished the feat April 8, 1994.

"Really, I had visions of winning that game without a hit,'' manager Don Mattingly said. "(Runners on) first and second (in the eighth inning), I'm thinking wild pitch, sac fly. ... You never know.''

Los Angeles (37-22), which owns baseball's best record, hopes the reigning NL Cy Young award winner can help it get back on track.

Clayton Kershaw (4-3, 2.55 ERA) went 21-5 last season, but 2012 hasn't gone as smoothly for him - especially recently.

The left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in his last three starts after allowing three runs in seven innings and not earning a decision in the Dodgers' 4-3 victory over Philadelphia on Monday. He's received only four runs of support through 19 2-3 innings in his last three outings, and also revealed he's been dealing with plantar fasciitis.

"They're trying different tape and things at night to help it go away," Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website.

Kershaw is 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 career interleague starts, beating Seattle 8-2 on June 26, 2009, in his only career outing versus the Mariners, who will send Jason Vargas to the mound.

Vargas (7-4, 3.64) is 3-1 with a 4.44 ERA over his last four starts as the offense has supported him with an average of 7.18 runs. He allowed four runs and a season-high nine hits in 5 2-3 innings Monday but struck out a season-best eight and got credit for an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

The left-hander is 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his last seven interleague starts.