Mariners-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners have not fared well outside Safeco Field.

Neither has Joe Saunders.

The veteran left-hander will try to help the Mariners end a six-game road skid - and extend his lengthy scoreless streak against the San Diego Padres - Wednesday night when this four-game set continues.

After splitting the first two games of this two-city series, Seattle (22-30) has two games at San Diego and three at Minnesota.

The Mariners dropped two of three last season at the Padres (23-28), but they've won 15 of 20 as the road team in this series. Seattle, though, is mired in its longest slide away from home since an eight-game skid April 28-May 12, 2012.

Saunders (3-5, 6.09 ERA) is 0-4 with an 11.25 ERA in five road starts. He's obviously been far better at home, but even pitching at Safeco didn't help in Friday's 9-5 loss to Texas. Saunders struck out a season-high seven but surrendered six runs in five innings as his career mark in Seattle fell to 9-1.

"He struggled tonight. He still battled and got us through five innings, but he threw a lot of pitches (95),'' manager Eric Wedge said. "He made some mistakes and they got to him.''

The Padres haven't been able to, though, with Saunders bringing in a 22 2-3-inning shutout stretch against them. He's 3-0 with a 0.28 ERA in his last four outings against San Diego after going seven innings in a 2-1 Arizona win at Petco Park on April 11, 2012.

San Diego, winner of seven of 10 in this series following Tuesday's 6-1 victory, opens its five-game homestand with Eric Stults (4-4, 4.22) getting his first look at the Mariners.

The veteran left-hander, 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last two home starts, allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings of Friday's 5-2 loss to Arizona.

"I felt like I got away with some pitches through the sixth inning,'' said Stults, who allowed all four runs in the seventh. "Actually, it felt like in the seventh inning I made the pitches I wanted to, (but) just didn't have the results.''

Stults will likely be throwing to Yasmani Grandal, who went 1 for 4 with a run Tuesday in his season debut. He just finished a 50-game suspension for a positive test showing elevated testosterone levels.

Kelly Shoppach could be back behind the plate for Seattle after rookie catcher Jesus Sucre drove in his first career run with a sacrifice fly Tuesday.

Mariners rookie second baseman Nick Franklin, called up prior to Monday's 9-0 victory, might be back in the lineup after going 0 for 4 with a strikeout and an error in his first major league start Tuesday.

San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko had a much better game, setting a team rookie record for homers in one month with his sixth.

Justin Smoak (strained oblique) will likely miss a fourth consecutive game for Seattle, while slugger Michael Morse is questionable after suffering a right quadriceps strain Tuesday.

Kendrys Morales, batting .472 (17 for 36) with a homer and nine RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak, has never faced Stults.

Chase Headley has more hits off Saunders than any other Padre, going 7 for 19 with two doubles.

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