It hasn't been an enjoyable holiday weekend for the Seattle Mariners, and if it ends on a similar note, they're going to be looking at their longest losing streak since the first eight games of the season.
Home struggles are complicating their otherwise promising year in the AL West, which they'll try to begin correcting Monday in the first of four games against the San Diego Padres.
The Mariners (28-21) suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Minnesota Twins and haven't gone beyond that since dropping five straight from April 8-12. That also came entirely at home, and Seattle has fallen to 10-14 at Safeco Field.
Sunday's 5-4 loss came with a two-run ninth-inning rally falling just short. Franklin Gutierrez and Robinson Cano at least stayed hot. Gutierrez's two-run homer got Seattle within a run in the ninth and was his third in six games while going 8 for 20. Cano hit his third home run in five games and is 8 for 21 with five extra-base hits in that time.
"I'm just trying to be ready for the first pitch," Cano told MLB's official website. "I don't want to be taking a strike and then have to swing at whatever they throw. I'm just trying to take advantage of anything over the plate."
It hasn't taken much to beat the Padres (20-31) since the middle of the month. They fell 6-3 in Arizona on Sunday and are 3-10 with 3.5 runs per game and a .206 team average dating to May 15. The current eight-game road trip is off to a 1-5 start after dropping two of three in Arizona and being swept in San Francisco.
They'll have to turn it around against Nathan Karns, whose first season in Seattle has been mostly strong since he lost his debut. Karns (4-1, 3.53 ERA) is 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA in eight starts since, though he's been limited to five innings in each of his last two.
The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in Tuesday's 6-5 home win over Oakland but settled for a no-decision.
Alexei Ramirez is 1 for 8 against him, but Melvin Upton Jr. (1 for 2) and Adam Rosales (1 for 3) have both homered off Karns.
He's up against Andrew Cashner, whose return from the disabled list was adequate but shorter than he'd probably like due to control issues. Cashner (2-4, 4.87), who missed time with a strained right hamstring, pitched for the first time since May 8 in Tuesday's 8-2 loss in San Francisco.
The right-hander gave up three runs and four hits with four walks in six innings. He's walking 3.98 batters per nine innings and hasn't gone beyond six innings so far this year.
"He battled well," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I think his ball-strike ratio probably wasn't what it normally is for him. He typically commands the zone very well. I chalk that up to first time back on the mound in competition in 15 days. I thought he battled well, got off the mound well, fielded bunts well."
Cashner is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts and a relief appearance against the Mariners.
Seattle took three of four in last season's matchup of home-and-home two-game series while holding the Padres off the board in the last two for a scoreless innings streak of 19.