After a positive start to a six-game road trip, the Seattle Mariners will be chasing more success when they open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Mariners took two of three games from the first-place Chicago White Sox to begin the trip and have now won seven of their past nine.
The Blue Jays also are on the rise. After winning three of four games from the Baltimore Orioles to open a 10-game homestand, they have won seven of their past eight after losing five consecutive.
Both the Mariners and Blue Jays are 13-11 in June.
Toronto will start left-hander Robbie Ray (5-3, 3.35 ERA) against Seattle right-hander Chris Flexen (6-3, 3.87).
Ray is 0-1, 3.71, in three career games against Seattle. Flexen will be facing Toronto for the first time.
Both teams had Monday off. The Mariners clinched the series against the White Sox on Sunday when they won 3-2 on a ninth-inning homer by Taylor Trammell in the completion of a game that had been suspended on Saturday in the top of the third by rain.
The Mariners then lost the seven-inning series finale 7-5 later Sunday. They found positives in the loss after coming back from a 7-1 deficit with one run in the sixth and a three-run homer by Mitch Haniger in the seventh.
“Really good effort by our guys,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “At the end, nobody is giving at-bats away. We forced them to bring in their closer in a game they probably thought they had wrapped up. So it says a lot about how we are playing.”
After completing an 8-2 homestand, the Mariners won the opener of their trip 9-3 over Chicago on Friday.
“Got a lot of confidence with this group,” Servais said on Sunday. “Just a little clunky with the rainout (Saturday) and going back-to-back (Sunday). But I thought we played really well in this series.”
Hector Santiago, who allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings on Sunday in the suspended game, was ejected in the fifth inning after a sticky substance was found on his glove. He is facing a possible suspension.
In their 5-2 win on Sunday that clinched a 3-1 series win over the Orioles, the Blue Jays’ bullpen showed improvement for the second consecutive game. Over the final four innings, four Toronto relievers allowed no runs, one hit and two walks, with right-hander Patrick Murphy allowing the walk and the hits.
Two relievers pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings in the 12-4 victory on Saturday after the bullpen allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings of a 6-5 loss in 10 innings to Baltimore on Friday.
“I’m not surprised,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said on Sunday. “Like I’ve always said, if our bullpen regroups and does the job like they did today, we’re going to win games because we’re going to hit. We’re playing great defense and our starters are doing a great job.
“(The bullpen) is the piece that we were missing, but (Sunday) is a great example that they did a great job. If they can bounce back, we’re going to compete and we’re going to be good.”
Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire is batting .533 (16-for-30) with five doubles and three RBIs in his past 10 games.
–Field Level Media