Inquirer Daily News

American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 29th (All times eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (15-10) at Seattle Mariners (11-16), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Zach Britton (0-0, 0.00) Seattle - Joe Saunders (1-3, 6.33)

(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a series win in Oakland and now have their sights set on the Seattle Mariners as the two clubs open a three-game series Monday from Safeco Field.

The Orioles won the first three portions of their four-game series with the Athletics and targeted the first four-game sweep in Oakland since May 22-25, 1987. However, the rare feat fell short in Sunday's 9-8 loss in 10 innings.

A's second baseman Eric Sogard scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning on Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's throwing error. With runners on second and third, Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp pushed a bunt down the third- base line. Machado then fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw sailed into left field to allow Sogard to score.

Baltimore had won three in a row and five of six games, and opened an 11-game road trip on a high note. Despite his costly throw in the 10th inning, Machado had four hits, two RBI and a run scored, while Nate McLouth ended 4-for-5 and scored four times. Chris David homered and drove in three for the O's.

"It's so hard to sweep four games," Davis said. "Three out of four is good against anybody, especially to start a road trip. I'm happy with the three wins and I'm happy with the way we swung the bats."

Miguel Gonzalez started for Baltimore and did not record a decision as he gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Pedro Strop was saddled with the loss for allowing the unearned run in the 10th.

The Orioles, who are slated to visit the L.A. Angels for four games later this week, have still won eight of the last 11 contests and will send Zach Britton to the mound Monday for his 2013 debut. Britton, who was 1-0 with a 1.98 earned run average in three starts at Triple-A Norfolk, started 28 games for the O's last season, going 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA.

The left-hander will make the third start of his career against Seattle and has no record and a 2.57 ERA in the first two appearances (14 innings).

Seattle took three of four from Anaheim to begin a seven-game homestand and won the series with Sunday's 2-1 triumph. First-year Mariner Michael Morse clubbed a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth to give Seattle the lead and Tom Wilhelmsen hurled a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.

"We wanted to win this series bad," Morse said. "We've been fighting and it was a tough game, a pitcher's game. We're going to have a lot of these one-run games, and to come out on top like that means a lot for the character of this team."

Hisashi Iwakuma started for the M's and gave up one unearned run and three hits in six innings for the no-decision. Carter Capps collected the win by striking out three over two shutout innings.

Jason Bay, another Seattle newcomer, knocked in the other run.

The Mariners hope to get outfielder/DH Michael Saunders back Monday. Saunders landed on the disabled list earlier this month because of a right shoulder sprain and has been working his way back in the minor leagues.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge recently communicated with Saunders.

"He texted me last night saying, 'I'm ready' with a slammer on it," Wedge said Sunday on the team's website. "So he's champing at the bit. I told him to play today and then call me. If all goes well today, I'd say we're looking good for tomorrow."

Former Oriole Joe Saunders draws the start for Wedge's club Monday and he is 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA in five starts. He has dropped back-to-back outings, allowing a total of 15 runs and 20 hits, and previously took the hill in Wednesday's 10-3 loss at Houston.

The Astros tagged Saunders for eight runs and 11 hits in five innings, one start after he permitted seven runs in 4 2/3 frames at Texas on April 19. Saunders, a left-hander, hopes to keep his unbeaten streak against Baltimore alive tonight. In seven career starts versus the Orioles, Saunders is 5-0 with a 4.73 ERA over 40 innings.

Baltimore dominated Seattle last season, winning eight of the nine encounters and five of six in the Emerald City.

04/29 10:43:14 ET