Mariners try to stay on track vs. Indians

( - The Mariners hope to pick up their fifth win in six outings as Seattle hosts the Cleveland Indians for the third contest of a four-game set Saturday night at Safeco Field.

Seattle had a three-game winning streak snapped in the series opener with a 5-3 loss, but bounced back on Friday with a 2-1 victory over the Indians. Taijuan Walker held Cleveland scoreless for eight innings and Seth Smith delivered a two-run home run.

Nelson Cruz improved his batting average to .342 by going 2-for-4 with one run scored.

The Mariners played their last two games without star second baseman Robinson Cano, who is listed as day-to-day with flu-like symptoms. Seattle is also without the services of starters Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, who are both on the disabled list.

Since Iwakuma was injured, left-hander Roenis Elias has filled in nicely. Elias has registered a quality start in five of six outings en route to a 2-1 record with a 2.56 ERA. Elias has allowed three runs of fewer in 16 consecutive starts.

"I think he clicks it in a little bit," catcher Mike Zunino said of Elias. "He focuses a little bit more and keeps the ball down in the zone. The way he's been throwing, he has a lot of trust in his changeup. He used that a couple times with guys on base to get ground balls and get us out of the inning."

As Elias looks to continue his momentum, Cleveland's Shaun Marcum will be looking to redeem himself after a poor showing in his last appearance. Marcum lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Monday versus Texas before he was pulled after surrendering seven earned runs, including a pair of homers, and three walks.

"There were balls that caught too much of the plate that were up," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Marcum's outing. "The guys that he left balls up to, Beltre and Fielder, are very good offspeed hitters. Those are guys that if you make a mistake, that's what they can do to it."

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak to nine games on Friday with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate. Kipnis is batting .445 in the month of May. Cleveland was limited to only three hits and 29 total at- bats on Friday.

After Friday's loss, the Indians are in sole possession of last place in the American League Central race by a half-game.

The Mariners went 4-2 against the Indians last season and the two clubs will meet again for three games in Cleveland from June 9-11.