After getting back into the win column, the Seattle Mariners are hoping their top pitching prospect can lead them to a successful finish during their stay in Chicago.
Taijuan Walker will try to build on a solid season debut when the Mariners wrap up their three-game series with the White Sox on Sunday.Seattle (48-39) won 10 of 12 and a season-high six in a row on the road before a 7-1 loss in Friday's opener and needed 14 innings to rebound for a 3-2 win a day later.Michael Saunders hit a tying single in a two-run ninth inning and scored on Brad Miller's double in the 14th."A lot of character and a lot of grind today," Saunders said.Walker (1-0, 4.50 ERA) will try to pave the way to another victory after earning a 10-4 win in Houston on Monday. The right-hander settled down after giving up home runs in each of his first two innings.Walker yielded no runs, two hits and one walk in his final four innings. He also had five of his six strikeouts, including three in fifth."He has a chance to be a pretty good pitcher at this level if he can keep his head about him," manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB's official website. "One of the things we tried to impress upon him tonight is it's not always power. It's location sometimes, and sometimes it's OK to go softer. He made a couple mistakes tonight, but he'll shore those things up and hopefully he'll be better next time out."Walker will face the White Sox and star rookie slugger Jose Abreu for the first time. Abreu, among the major league leaders with 27 homers, had an 18-game hitting streak snapped in Saturday's loss.The White Sox (41-47) will send out Hector Noesi (2-6, 5.33) after being denied a season high-tying third consecutive home win.Noesi hadn't allowed a hit against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday before his outing fell apart in the fifth inning. He gave up four runs on back-to-back homers and was charged with five runs in his five-plus innings in an 8-4 defeat.Noesi also walked a career-high seven after issuing none in seven innings at Baltimore on June 25. He gave up two runs while not factoring in the decision in that 5-4 loss."He's actually been throwing good. Today was really the first time he had a problem locating. He walked too many people and fell behind. Then you get the middle of the plate and you're going to get hurt," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's pitched well. His last outing was great."Noesi will make his first start against the Mariners. Dustin Ackley has a pair of hits in three at-bats against the right-hander, while Robinson Cano is 0 for 6.Cano is 10 for 25 with two homers in the last six games and is batting .350 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in his last 25 matchups with the White Sox.