The Seattle Mariners have put together a nice stretch over the last month, bolstered by their strong play at home.
They'll go for their first three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in 11 years Sunday.After a 3-2 victory Saturday night, Seattle has won 14 of its last 21, including four straight and six of seven.The majority of those victories have come at home, where the Mariners (57-64) have won 11 of their last 12 games."You could say we're starting to mesh more as a team," John Jaso, who won Saturday's contest with a sacrifice fly scoring Michael Saunders in the bottom of the ninth, told the team's official website. "A lot of exciting things have happened this year and I think we are kind of growing as a group. That's kind of a cool thing."Justin Smoak homered for the Mariners, who have won four straight overall against the Twins (50-69). They've held Minnesota to 10 runs and a .164 batting average over the first five games of the season series.On Sunday, Seattle will try to complete its first three-game sweep of Minnesota since September 2001, during the Mariners' 116-win season. However, Minnesota's last two wins have come with rookie Samuel Deduno (4-0, 3.38 ERA) on the mound.Deduno made his first major league start in a loss at Texas on July 7, but the Twins have won all six of his six starts since.While he's been wild at times, with 30 walks over 40 innings, he's worked around it. Against Detroit on Monday, Deduno allowed three runs, five hits and five walks in seven innings of a 9-3 victory."He's the prototypical effectively wild pitcher," catcher Ryan Doumit told the Twins' official website. "He's always going to be like that. He's always going to be a high-strikeout, high-walk kind of guy. ... You don't see too many pitchers with natural movement like that -- and it's a testament to him."The Twins have lost four straight since Deduno's last outing and eight of nine, scoring three runs or fewer in six of those games. They are a season-worst 19 games below .500, the worst mark in the AL.Minnesota hopes for better success at the plate against Mariners starter Blake Beavan (7-7, 5.17), who has given up four runs in each of his last two outings -- both losses for Seattle -- after winning his previous four starts.The right-hander surrendered four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday. All four runs came in the third inning."He got it pretty easy after that," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He did a better job of executing pitches. He just got a little sloppy in that inning."Beavan's only appearance against the Twins came last year. He allowed two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss, but didn't factor in the decision.
Entering Friday, Justin Morneau has been much more effective against right-handed pitching this season with a .309 batting average as opposed to .218 against left-handers. Also, 14 of his 16 HR and 45 of 58 RBIs have come against righties.