Mariners-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

It's been hard for Joe Saunders to figure out why he can't lose at home but has yet to win on the road.

The veteran left-hander looks to avoid a fifth consecutive losing road start as the Seattle Mariners face the surging Cleveland Indians on Saturday.

Saunders (3-4, 5.51 ERA) is 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA in four home starts this season, but 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road.

"It's killing me,'' he said after allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-1 victory over Oakland on Sunday to improve to 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 13 career starts at Safeco Field. "I know I have it in me. It's just a matter of doing it on the road."

Saunders has given up 22 runs and 29 hits over 14 2-3 innings of his last three starts away from home. He went 41-31 with a 3.66 ERA in 90 road starts in his previous eight seasons.

"It's hard to explain," he told the Mariners' official website. "I pride myself on being a good road pitcher and that hasn't happened yet. So hopefully the next start I can finally turn the page."

Saunders is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts against the Indians, including 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two at Cleveland - where he last pitched in 2008.

He'll try to help Seattle (20-22) bounce back from a 6-3, 10-inning loss Friday.

Jason Kipnis' second three-run homer in as many games came with two outs in the 10th and sent the Indians (23-17) to their 15th win in 20 games. They are 10-2 during that stretch at home.

"You never want to put too much emphasis on different wins, but we knew we had a big crowd," said Kipnis, whose winner came in front of announced 34,282 people. "To get a win in front of them and to get it like this in front of them, hopefully it brings some of them back."

Kipnis is 5 for 8 and also has two doubles in the last two contests. He's batting .389 with two homers and five RBIs during his last four against the Mariners.

Scheduled Cleveland starter Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68) is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three starts since he opened 1-3 with a 3.52 ERA. The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings of a 4-3, 10-inning win at Detroit on Sunday.

"I didn't feel like I had my best stuff," McAllister told the Indians' official website. "I was definitely happy with the way I battled."

Though McAllister is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts against the Mariners, he allowed a solo homer to Michael Saunders and two other hits in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-1 loss at Seattle on Aug. 22.

Michael Saunders is 2 for 19 with seven strikeouts in his last four games, but teammate Raul Ibanez had three hits, including a two-run homer, Friday.

Ibanez, who turns 41 in June, is batting .393 (11 for 28) with five homers and 14 RBIs in eight games this month. He hit .158 (9 for 57) with two home runs and five RBIs in 17 April contests.

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