Owners of just five career major league starts between the two of them, Seattle's Brandon Maurer and Texas' Nick Tepesch will square off for the second time in less than a week as the Mariners continue a three-game set with the hosting Rangers.
The two rookies squared off on Sunday in the finale of last week's four-game series in Seattle. Maurer pitched his club to a split of the set and earned his first major league victory by allowing three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and a walk over six innings. The win came in the 22-year-old's third career start.
The right-hander rebounded after giving up 12 runs over 6 2/3 innings in losing his first two starts and he lasted just two-thirds of an inning in a brutal 16-9 loss to the Houston Astros on April 9.
"It's nice to see him get his first win," Seattle manager Eric Wedge told his team's website. "He was more in control today, more at ease, more comfortable. He was noticeably different with his poise and the way he handled himself."
Maurer's win came at the expense of the 24-year-old Tepesch, who lost his first career decision after winning his major league debut on April 9. Tepesch held the Tampa Bay Rays to a run over 7 1/3 innings in that outing, but yielded four runs over 5 2/3 innings versus the Mariners.
The righty also struck out five and did not walk a batter, but gave up the go- ahead scores on back-to-back run-scoring singles by Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley in the sixth inning.
The Rangers drew first blood in this rematch on Friday, riding Yu Darvish's scoreless outing to a 7-0 victory.
Darvish bounced back from a loss to the Mariners last Friday with seven shutout innings as he scattered three hits and struck out 10.
Jeff Baker gave him a lead with a solo homer in the second inning before Texas broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning. A.J. Pierzynski and Craig Gentry both drove in two runs during the big frame.
"We haven't been really performing offensively like we feel we can and it's good to come home and start the series off swinging the bats a little bit," said Gentry.
Mariners starter Joe Saunders allowed seven runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings, while Kyle Seager hit his ninth double of the season to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games.
"We obviously need to do a better job putting the ball in play. But you've got to give credit to Darvish tonight. He threw the ball well," noted Seager.
Seattle has lost seven of its past 10 overall, while Texas has alternated wins and losses over its past nine games.