Wild Card Run

The Seattle Mariners certainly seem to be enjoying playing against the AL Central.

The surging Mariners try for their sixth straight win Wednesday when they close a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins.

The wild card leaders are in the middle of their fourth consecutive series against opponents from the AL Central. Seattle (71-52) improved to 8-3 during that stretch with a 7-2 win over the Twins (62-63) on Tuesday.

Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for two of the Mariners' 18 hits to back Jarrod Washburn, who pitched six effective innings.

"We're really hitting the ball well up and down the lineup," said Mariners manager John McLaren, whose club has scored 39 runs during its five-game win streak.

The Mariners are 17-6 since July 27 to go a season-high 19 games above .500, moving 2 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees for the wild card and within two games of the Los Angeles Angels for the AL West lead.

Seattle is looking for its first sweep of the Twins since sweeping a four-game series in May 2003. The Mariners, who swept the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, have outscored Minnesota 16-6 in the first two games of this series.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Seattle -112 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Seattle -112 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Seattle is averaging 6.3 runs per game since Aug. 1. Beltre, who also had a double Tuesday, is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with two homers, two doubles and five RBIs in his last five games. Sexson has homered in each game of this series, Ichiro Suzuki is 7-for-16 (.438) with five runs in the last three games and Kenji Johjima is 6-for-14 (.429) with five RBIs in his last three.

The Mariners will hand the ball to Miguel Batista (13-8, 4.14 ERA) on Wednesday.

Batista has won his last two starts and five of his last six decisions. He allowed three runs and three hits in 6 1-3 innings on Friday against the White Sox in a 5-4 victory.

Batista's 13 wins are a career high, but after Friday's game, he wouldn't agree that this is the best season of his career.

"My best season was when I ended up with a world championship (with Arizona in 2001)," the right-hander said. "If we end up there, then this might be my best season."

Batista is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts and two relief appearances against the Twins. This is his first time facing them since 2005, and his first start against them since 2004.

Carlos Silva (9-12, 4.17) will counter for the Twins, who remained 6 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians for first place in the Central with Tuesday's loss.

Silva is looking for his first win in four starts. He pitched well enough Friday to win, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings, but Minnesota needed 10 innings to beat the Texas Rangers 2-1.

Silva has given up just three runs combined in his last three starts, but has gone winless because he's received only three runs of support in that span.

Minnesota is batting .249 this month, second-worst in the AL.

Silva is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances against the Mariners. He beat them on April 18 as he allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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