Padres-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

Kyle Seager has been much better at home than on the road this year, and he's really picked it up in Seattle over the past few days.

Seager looks to continue his recent tear at Safeco Field on Tuesday, and help the Mariners to another win over the San Diego Padres in this four-game, home-and-home set.

Seager is batting .313 with nine homers and 28 RBIs at home, compared to hitting .215 with one home run while driving in 17 runs as the visitor. He is 2 for 26 in his last six games away from Seattle.

The third baseman has been swinging a hot bat over the last three games at Safeco, going 7 for 10 with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs. He hit a three-run shot in the first inning of a 5-1 win over San Diego on Monday - a somber day for the Padres organization with Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn passing away.

Seager's homer in the opener came on a 3-0 count, as Seager was given the green light a day after plating three runs while doubling on two of his four hits in a 5-1 win over Texas.

"It's a good feeling that the skipper has confidence in you, that's always good," Seager said. "In that situation I had seen a couple of pitches ... when you get the opportunity you have to make sure you capitalize and get a ball in the air."

He could be in for another big day at the plate since San Diego (29-41) is turning to Eric Stults (2-8, 5.79 ERA), who's average of 1.74 home runs allowed per nine innings on the road is one of the worst among all starting pitchers.

Stults is winless in eight road starts, and is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in his last six overall since beating Miami on May 10. The left-hander gave up four runs in five-plus innings of a 7-3 defeat at Philadelphia on Thursday.

"For Eric, it's simple. It's location," manager Bud Black told the team's official website. "He's making some mistakes out over the plate and the opposition are really taking advantage of those. As opposed to taking a pitch, popping it up, mishitting it. He's in that little bit of a rut where every mistake he makes, the opposition is making him pay."

Stults didn't have many problems in his only meeting with Seattle (36-34) on May 29, 2013, collecting a career-high 12 strikeouts while yielding one run and three hits in eight innings of a 3-2 home win in 10.

He may need a similar dominating performance since he may not get much help from his offense.

The Padres are batting .157 while averaging 1.9 runs during a 3-11 stretch, and have backed Stults with two runs or less of support in seven of his last nine starts.

San Diego may have a chance of breaking out of its funk against Roenis Elias (5-5, 4.13), given the way he pitched in his last outing.

The rookie left-hander gave up a season-high six earned runs in 3 1-3 innings of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the New York Yankees. He had won his previous two starts while allowing four runs in 16 2-3 innings, including a three-hitter in a 4-0 home win over Detroit on June 1.

Elias didn't fare well in his only interleague start April 19, surrendering six runs - four earned - with a season-high five walks in a 7-0 defeat at Miami.

This series shifts to San Diego on Wednesday for the first of two games.

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