Mike Montgomery pitched seven seasons in the minors before getting his shot with the Seattle Mariners and producing an unexpectedly stellar first month in the major leagues.
His story doesn't sound like much of a fairy tale now.
Montgomery hasn't won since defeating the Oakland Athletics 7 1/2 weeks ago, and he'll look to end that drought by beating them again Tuesday night.
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Seattle (57-68) acquired the 26-year-old rookie from Tampa Bay for Erasmo Ramirez on March 31 and called him up to make his debut June 2. Montgomery (4-6, 4.16 ERA) went 4-2 with a 1.62 ERA in his first six seven starts, tossing back-to-back shutouts June 23 against Kansas City - the club that drafted him in the first round in 2006 - and San Diego on June 30.
The left-hander allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win over Oakland on July 5, but he's mostly struggled since then. Montgomery has gone 0-4 with a 7.45 ERA in his last eight starts and gave up nine runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 15-1 loss to Boston on Aug. 14.
He allowed three runs in the first inning of Wednesday's 7-2 defeat to Texas but gave up three hits over his final five.
''Once I started commanding the fastball, I got a lot of early outs on it,'' Montgomery said.
Montgomery is 1-3 with a 3.40 ERA in seven home starts and gets another shot to snap out of his funk against the A's, who ended a eight-game road skid with Monday's 11-5 victory.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a three-run homer and Mark Trumbo added a solo shot later in the Mariners' five-run third inning, but Oakland (55-71 responded with seven in the fifth.
Josh Reddick went 3 for 5 with a homer, Danny Valencia also went deep and Stephen Vogt added three hits for the A's, who posted their highest run total since a 14-1 win over Minnesota on July 19.
''We're resilient. We hustle. We fight. Reddick getting down the line right there was huge,'' Valencia said. ''We take advantage of small mistakes. Doing those things is the reason why we won.''
Seattle has dropped four of five, and about the only positive from its latest defeat was Nelson Cruz reaching base in his 34th straight game by being hit by a pitch.
The Mariners have had some success against Oakland's Jesse Chavez (7-12, 3.75), who had one of his better outings Wednesday, allowing two runs in eight innings of a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA over his previous five outings.
Chavez's win over the Dodgers came in his career-high 22nd start. He made 21 last season after starting four times in the first six years of his career.
''The work that I put in will lead to results," Chavez said. "That's all I want to show, is that I'm still out there working to get through this season, a full season at that, as a starter. I want to build off this.''
The right-hander, though, has lost his last four starts against the Mariners with a 4.75 ERA. Chavez fell 4-3 to Seattle on May 10, allowing four runs over 6 2-3 innings, and gave up two-run homers to Cruz and Logan Morrison in 6 1-3 of a 9-5 defeat July 3.
Chavez has particularly struggled against Cruz (5 for 11, two homers) and Robinson Cano (7 for 16).