Hisashi Iwakuma has regained his All-Star form over his past two outings.
He's looked like a Cy Young Award winner when facing the Minnesota Twins during his brief major league career.
Iwakuma will try to help Seattle bounce back from a season-high winning streak snapped as the Mariners begin a four-game set on Thursday night versus the Twins.
The right-handed Iwakuma has followed up a five-game winless stretch (0-3) by winning consecutive starts while fixing the longball issues that had been plaguing him. He has yielded just one homer over his two wins after giving up 10 during his winless span.
Iwakuma allowed three runs over seven innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 14, then logged another seven innings of work in a win over Houston on Saturday. The 32-year-old limited the Astros to a pair of runs on seven hits and two walks, improving to 9-4 with a 2.99 earned run average in 21 starts.
Over his season-plus of major league experience, the Japanese import has won all three of his starts versus the Twins while allowing just two unearned runs over 20 2/3 innings. Iwakuma spun 7 2/3 scoreless frames in a victory at Minnesota on May 31.
The Mariners play host to the Twins after having an eight-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, held to just two hits in a 10-1 setback to Cleveland.
Joe Saunders yielded six runs -- five earned -- over 4 2/3 innings to snap a four-start win streak.
"I felt like I was all over the plate today," said Saunders. "We just got outplayed out there."
The Mariners weren't thinking too much about the loss following the game after it was revealed that manager Eric Wedge had been diagnosed with a mild stroke. Wedge was taken to the hospital after becoming dizzy during batting practice on Monday, but has been released and a complete recovery is expected.
Wedge is not expected to manage during this four-game set or during Seattle's upcoming six-game road trip to Boston and Baltimore.
Bench coach Robby Thompson will continue to guide the club in place of Wedge until his return.
"We will continue focusing on our job as a staff and their jobs in the clubhouse as players, which we hit on a little bit during the meeting. They'll bounce back, they'll think about it tonight, say their prayers and come back in (Thursday)," Thompson said after Wednesday's setback.
"They did a great job with the eight-game winning streak. They played very well, they played very hard, they played good baseball. We'll throw this one out the window and hopefully start it again tomorrow."
Seattle will try to rebound against a Twins club it beat in eight of the 10 meetings last year before dropping two of three in Minnesota from May 31-June 2.
Kevin Correia faced the Mariners during that set and will do so again tonight. He did not factor into a 5-4 win on June 1 after giving up four runs over 6 2/3 innings. Three of the eight hits he allowed were solo homers, two by Jason Bay and another off the bat of Kyle Seager.
Correia is 0-1 with a 4.64 ERA in four career meetings with Seattle, including three starts.
The 32-year-old righty won for the first time in five starts by beating Cleveland 3-2 on Saturday. He yielded two runs on three hits and a walk over six innings, improving to 7-6 with a 4.17 ERA in 19 games this season following his team-high 10th quality start of the campaign.
"I feel like I've been 6-6 for two months," Correia said. "I thought I might not get it tonight, but then we came back and capitalized and got three runs and it ended up being enough."
The Twins are coming off only their second loss in eight games after failing to record a three-game sweep of the Angels on Wednesday. They were bested 1-0 as Anaheim's Jered Weaver hurled eight scoreless innings.
Mike Pelfrey took the tough-luck loss after allowing one run and five hits over six innings of work.
"Mike gave us a great chance to win, but Jered kept us off balance. We just couldn't find a way to score," noted Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Minnesota will not have catcher Joe Mauer for this contest after placing him on the paternity list Wednesday. Mauer was a late scratch from Tuesday's contest after his wife went into labor with the couple's twin daughters.
Mauer is eligible to remain on the paternity list for three days, meaning the latest he could return to the club without going on the restricted list is Saturday and it is unknown when he will rejoin the Twins.