With a nine-game road trip just around the corner, the Seattle Mariners try again to take advantage of playing at home Saturday evening as they entertain the Milwaukee Brewers in interleague action at Safeco Field.
Just 30-31 at home thus far, the Mariners are hoping to boost morale in their building on Saturday as they induct Ken Griffey Jr. into the team's Hall of Fame. The first overall selection in the 1987 draft by the Mariners, Griffey spent 11 seasons with the club and still holds the team record for home runs (417), not to mention setting single-season marks in homers (56, twice), RBI (147) and extra-base hits (93).
A special consultant to the franchise since 2011, Griffey is set to join the six other members of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame: Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martinez (2007), Randy Johnson (2012) and Dan Wilson (2012), although the team might want to think about putting him on the active roster given how disappointing this season has been.
On Friday night the Mariners surrendered 10 runs between the third and fifth innings, en route to a 10-5 setback in the opener of the three-game series. The defeat was the third in the last four outings for the team and dropped Seattle to nine games under .500, not to mention 12 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West.
Justin Smoak ended up striking out twice, but he also hit his 12th home run of the campaign for the hosts, knocking in two runs. Kyle Seager also plated a pair, while Brad Miller accounted for three of the unit's seven hits.
Joe Saunders was saddled with the loss, his 11th in 21 decisions on the season, as he allowed nine runs -- just four earned -- on seven hits and a pair of walks. The starter struck out four but lasted just 4 1/3 innings before being pulled.
Logging the win for Milwaukee was Kyle Lohse as he gave up just three runs on six hits and three walks, fanning seven over the course of seven innings for the visitors.
One of the offensive stars for the Brewers was Yuniesky Betancourt, who delivered a grand slam in the top of the fifth to put even more distance between Milwaukee and the hosts. Betancourt, who broke in with the Mariners back in 2005 and was with the club until being moved to Kansas City in 2009, scored twice in order to offset a pair of strikeouts.
"Always, when you hit a grand slam, you feel great, and especially today when you played here for five years," Betancourt said. "When you get a hit here, it feels a little more exciting."
Norichika Aoki added two hits and three runs knocked in, while Martin Maldonado plated two more for a Milwaukee squad that is now 23-35 on the road and 20 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh in the National League Central.
Seeking back-to-back wins for the first time this season, Tom Gorzelanny heads to the mound for the Brewers tonight in Seattle. The left-hander, who had been coming out of the bullpen as recently as last month, managed to snap a four- game slide on July 27 when he captured a victory over Colorado on the road.
More recently the Illinois native clashed with Washington eight days ago, but he threw just a single inning in the meeting, allowing one hit and striking out a batter as the team suffered a 4-1 loss.
Since breaking in with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005, Gorzelanny has an all- time record of 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 7 1/3 innings versus the Mariners.
As for Seattle, the club has Hisashi Iwakuma penciled in as the starter this time around. The right-hander is coming off his first setback since July 4, bowing to Toronto at home. Against the Blue Jays the Japanese native made it through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits, but walking three and fanning only two in the 3-1 setback.
Now in just his second season in the major leagues, Iwakuma is getting his first-ever look at the Milwaukee lineup.
Prior to this series, the last meetings between the clubs took place in 2010, with Milwaukee winning two of three encounters at home. In terms of interleague play, Seattle has a mark of 159-140, while the Brewers are 109-133 after Friday's win.