Seattle, San Diego look to maintain momentum in short series


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SPORTSNAUT

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The San Diego Padres host the Seattle Mariners on Monday to open a two-game series between teams trying to continue their push to head into the All-Star break in contention.

The Padres return home after scoring four runs in the top of the ninth Sunday to rally from a 1-0 deficit to pull out a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers to salvage the last game of the four-game set after dropping the first three to the National League West Division leaders.

“That was a big win,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin, whose team finished the first half with a 47-34 record. “After losing the first three games in the series and trailing 1-0 into the ninth, we got a much-needed boost.

The Mariners’ 2-1 win over visiting Oakland was their fifth win in their past six games and 10th victory in their past 13 games. Seattle has won its past four series after taking three of four games against the A’s.

“Pitching was the name today as it’s been all season,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais after his team reached the midpoint with a 39-42 mark after being 29-39 on June 19.

Right-hander Chris Flexen (4-8, 4.32 ERA) will start for Seattle. He’s coming off allowing three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks in six innings during a 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

However, Flexen is 0-2 with a 21.21 ERA, having allowed 12 runs (11 earned) to go along with three strikeouts and five walks in 4 2/3 innings spanning two appearances in his career against the Padres.

San Diego is countering with left-hander Sean Manaea (3-3, 3.92 ERA). He’s 8-6 with a 3.46 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 27 walks in 15 appearances (all starts) spanning 93 2/3 innings all-time against the Mariners.

The Padres are 3-2 in Manaea’s last five starts, in which he has a 3.72 ERA and has given up three or fewer runs in four of those games.

For the Padres, these games against the Mariners are their only two outside the National League West during a 19-game stretch leading up to the All-Star break. The Padres are 2-4 thus far in road series against the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. Up next after the Mariners is a four-game set against the Giants in San Diego.

The Padres swept a three-game series against the Mariners in San Diego last year.

But the Mariners didn’t have center fielder Julio Rodriguez.

Days after being named the American League Rookie of the Month for a second straight month, Rodriguez homered on the first pitch of the game Sunday before driving in what turned out to be the decisive run with a double in the sixth inning.

“We mention his name almost every day,” Servais said of Rodriguez. “Keep an eye on him. He’s a lot of fun to watch a…

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