Swept By Orioles, Mariners Eye 1st-Place Texas

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 1:30 AM

The Mariners sported the worst home record in the majors for most of the first half of the season, but turned things around between July 26-Sept. 3, winning 17 of 20 games. Now the Mariners have reverted to their dreadful first-half form with a record of 1-7 in their last eight at Safeco after dropping a 3-1, 11-inning decision Wednesday on another torture job by former Mariner Adam Jones.

The home run that Jones hit to beat Seattle Wednesday was his third career long ball against Seattle, which selected the outfielder, now with 30 home runs, in the first round of the 2003 amateur draft and then sent him to Baltimore in 2008 in a package for Erik Bedard. That deal ranks among the worst in Mariners history.

Jones' game-winning home run marked the third time this season that he has figured prominently in a win over his old ball club. On Aug. 7, he hit a walk-off single against Shawn Kelley, giving Baltimore an 8-7 win in 14 innings. Two days ago, Jones scored four runs in Baltimore's 10-4 victory over Seattle.

The road ahead won't get any easier for the Mariners, now a season-worst 19.0 games out of first place. After a day off Thursday, with AL-West leading Texas in town, the Mariners will face LHP Martin Perez Friday, LHP Matt Harrison Saturday and RHP Ryan Dempster Sunday.

The trio has to be collectively licking its chops. Perez, a converted reliever, has pitched just just 5.1 innings against Seattle, but the Mariners are 0-for-18 against him with five strikeouts. Harrison is 4-0 against Seattle this season and 10-1 in his career. Dempster has won six of his last eight decisions. A closer look at the weekend matchups:FRIDAYRHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39) vs. LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38)Iwakuma: The 31-year-old rookie has lost his last two starts, but continues to be an effective starter (5-4, 2.84 ERA in 13 games since moving into the rotation). He's posted a 2.57 ERA at Safeco Field vs. a 4.57 ERA on the road, Vs. Texas -- In 13 innings, Iwakuma is 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA.

Perez: Perez steps into the rotation as the Rangers' No. 5 starter. He dominated the Mariners Saturday, throwing 4.1 innings of no-hit relief. He allowed a walk and hit a batter. Vs. Seattle -- Perez has appeared in two games without yielding a hit.SATURDAYRHP Blake Beavan (9-10, 4.88) vs. Matt Harrison (17-9, 3.26)Beavan: Beavan limited the Rangers to two runs in seven innings his last time out but still suffered a loss. After going 6-2 following his recall from AAA Tacoma, Beavan has lost two consecutive starts. Vs. Texas --2-3, 2.91 ERA with 13 strikeouts.Harrison: Harrison won his career-high 17th game last Sunday against Seattle, allowing one run in 8.2 innings. Vs. Seattle -- Harrison has won nine straight starts (4-0 this year) and is 10-1 lifetime with 60 strikeouts. He has allowed three runs to the Mariners in his last 32 innings.SUNDAYLHP Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.92) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (11-7, 3.08)Vargas: Has already posted career highs in wins (14) and innings (204.1) and ranks ninth in the AL with a 1.18 WHIP. He took a no-decision at Texas his last outing, giving up four runs on six hits in 5.2 innings Saturday. Vs. Texas --4-5, 4.70 ERA in 12 career starts; 1-1, 5.21 in three starts this season.Dempster: The veteran right-hander has had six quality starts for Texas and two brief outings, both vs. the Angels. He lasted 3.1 innings, yielding five runs on six hits and three walks, in Anaheim Tuesday. Vs. Seattle -- 0-1, 1.80 ERA in 10.1 career innings.NOTES: The Mariners have lost four in a row and are 70-80 with 12 games remaining  . . . Baltimore's sweep of the Mariners was its first in Seattle since 1997 . . . The Mariners went 0-for-21 with runners in scoring position in their last two losses . . . When the Mariners went 0-for-17 with RISP Wednesday, it marked the most hitless at-bats in the majors with RISP since the Red Sox went 0-for-19 in a 12-inning game against the Yankees April 24, 2004 . . . Felix Hernandez, who took a no-decision Wednesday after giving up one run on six hits in eight innings, figures to make two more starts, one on the road against the Angels next week and another in the final home stand, also against the Angels . . . Kyle Seager will take a 10-game hitting streak into Friday's game against Texas . . . When Miguel Olivo caught all 18 innings Wednesday, it marked the second-longest, single-game catching performance in franchise history. Jim Essian caught 19.1 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Angels April 13-14, 1982 . . . In part because of Seattle's 18-inning game Wednesday and 11-inning affair Thursday, manager Eric Wedge has employed nine relievers in the last eight games . . . Friday's game against the Rangers will be Fan Appreciation Night at Safeco Field. All fans will receiver a team poster with a preview of next year's schedule. There will be random drawings for prizes and fans will have the chance to catch specially marked balls in batting practice that are redeemable for players autographs. . . . Saturday's game with the Rangers will start at 6:10 p.m. The contest was listed on schedules as starting at either 1:10 or 6:10 p.m.

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