The struggling Seattle Mariners are back in the Emerald City and will open a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three straight games versus the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field.
Seattle went 4-6 on a 10-game road trip and was swept in four games by the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. In Thursday's 4-3 setback at Tropicana Field, the Mariners allowed four runs in the second inning and that was all the Rays needed. Kevin Millwood dropped his third straight start for Seattle after giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
John Jaso had two hits and a run scored, while Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Carp and Justin Smoak each knocked in a run for Seattle, which has dropped six in row and opened the road trip with four consecutive wins.
"Tough ball games. Tough losses," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "We're just not doing enough to take back innings and get leads back."
The Mariners will also host Detroit on the residency and will send Jason Vargas to the mound Friday. Vargas is 3-2 with a 3.37 earned run average in six starts this season and had a personal two-game winning streak stopped his last time out in a 7-2 loss at Toronto. He was reached for two runs in six innings in that one.
Vargas, a left-hander, is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA in five career games (4 starts) against the Twins.
Minnesota was just swept in three games by the LA Angels of Anaheim and dropped a 9-0 decision on Wednesday, when Angels ace Jered Weaver tossed a no- hitter. Weaver threw the second MLB no-hitter in less than two weeks and the 10th one in franchise history.
Twins starter Liam Hendriks suffered the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 frames for the Twins, who have dropped nine of their last 10 and were blanked by a 4-0 score in the second test of the three-game series.
"I'm not too excited right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Let's put it that way. How far do you wanna dig yourself a hole here? It's early, but it's also too early to lose games like this too. We need to win some baseball games. We need to shake hands a little bit. It's the atmosphere you worry about. Guys keep take a beating in there and they can get up so many times, but we need to win a game and shake some hands. We need to have that feeling."
Carl Pavano gets the call for Minnesota tonight and he is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA in five starts. He did not record a decision his last time out in a 7-6 setback versus Kansas City, as he was reached for five runs, four of which were earned, and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Pavano has allowed at least two earned runs in each outing this season and owns a 1-2 record with to go along with a 3.97 ERA in five career starts against Seattle. The righty is 1-2 in three road starts this season.
Seattle won five of eight matchups with the Twins a year ago.