Team Report - SEATTLE MARINERS

The SportsXchange

INSIDE PITCH

SEATTLE -- The offensive struggles of third baseman Kyle Seager and the Mariners came to a halt during a dramatic ninth inning Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.

Seager's three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning -- his second homer of the day -- capped off a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros and effectively ended his season-long slump.

"Everything is so magnified at the beginning of the year," Seager said of the .156 batting average he carried into Wednesday's game. "You're going to have slumps. But it definitely is good to get on the board."

Seager's two-homer game was the product of lots of extra work -- maybe too much, he admitted after Wednesday's win.

"I'm a guy who's always tinkered with stuff and broken things down a lot," he said. "Obviously, that can kind of hurt you in some aspects, if you over-think too much."

Throughout Seager's batting slump, which actually went back all the way to last August, McClendon never wavered. The new Mariners manager kept putting him in the lineup.

"He has a track record," McClendon explained after Wednesday's win. "I've said all along he's going to hit. When you're in a losing streak and guys aren't hitting, it's frustrating."

But that frustration came to an end with two swings of the bat Friday.

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 8-13

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Friday -- Rangers (LHP Robbie Ross, 1-1, 2.31 ERA) at Mariners (LHP Roenis Elias, 1-2, 3.22 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make his first rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. His first scheduled start was rained out Tuesday. Iwakuma (finger) has not pitched in a game at any level since the end of the 2013 season, and the Mariners are hoping he won't need too many rehab starts before the No. 2 starter is ready to join the big club.

--3B Kyle Seager hit his first two home runs of the season Wednesday, with a two-run shot in the seventh inning and a dramatic, walk-off homer in the ninth. Seager had gone 65 at-bats without a home run before going deep twice Wednesday. Seager's three-run homer in the ninth came with one out and Seattle trailing 3-2.

--SS Brad Miller was back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup Wednesday after manager Lloyd McClendon's experiment switching him with No. 8 hitter Dustin Ackley resulted in a combined 1-for-14 with nine strikeouts from the two players. Miller went 0-for-4 Wednesday and is now hitting .183 on the season.

--RF Nick Franklin, the Mariners' everyday second baseman over the second half of last season, made his first start in the outfield Wednesday. Franklin snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a fifth-inning single and went 1-for-3. His defense was a bit shoddy, as Franklin's first throw from the outfield missed the cut-off man by a few feet to allow a runner from first base to score standing up on a double down the line.

--RHP Fernando Rodney made his second consecutive appearance in a non-save situation Wednesday, simply because the Mariners haven't had many leads as of late. The last time Rodney had an opportunity to save a game, he gave up two hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning -- his first blown save of the season. On Wednesday, with Seattle trailing 3-2, Rodney came on in the ninth and pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up a walk and a single. He earned his first win of the season after 3B Kyle Seager hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth.

--LHP Roenis Elias is coming off the first rough inning of his young career, having been tagged for three hits and four runs in the sixth of his last start -- a 7-0 loss at Miami. Until that moment, the rookie had been rolling through opposing hitters. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back Friday night, when Elias is scheduled to make a start against the Texas Rangers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The fact is, you're going to have losing streaks during the season. How you deal with them will define what kind of team you're going to be." -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, after Seattle snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Astros.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 29. He had his scheduled rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma rained out April 22. In lieu of the rehab start, Iwakuma threw a four-inning simulated game. "The ball jumped out of my hand pretty well today and I feel pretty close to the regular season," Iwakuma told The Seattle Times after the 58-pitch session. He is now scheduled to make his first rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on April 27. Iwakuma (finger) has not pitched in a game at any level since the end of the 2013 season, and the Mariners are hoping he won't need too many rehab starts before the No. 2 starter is ready to join the big club.

--LHP James Paxton (strained lat muscle) was placed on the disabled list April 9. He won't be available until late May. Manager Lloyd McClendon said April 21 that Paxton's original timetable was six-to-eight weeks. He met with team doctor April 23 and has been cleared to start playing catch April 25.

--RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder soreness) was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 29. He made two rehab starts in the minor leagues but was scratched from his April 16 scheduled start at Triple-A Tacoma because of a flare-up in the shoulder. He met with a doctor on April 23, and was cleared to start playing catch April 28.

--RHP Blake Beavan (right shoulder stiffness) left the game April 15. He went on the 15-day disabled list April 16.

--RF Logan Morrison (right hamstring tightness) left the April 14 game. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 15.

ROTATION:

RHP Felix Hernandez

RHP Erasmo Ramirez

LHP Roenis Elias

RHP Chris Young

BULLPEN:

RHP Fernando Rodney (closer)

RHP Danny Farquhar

RHP Tom Wilhelmsen

LHP Charlie Furbush

RHP Yoervis Medina

LHP Joe Beimel

RHP Dominic Leone

RHP Brandon Maurer

CATCHERS:

Mike Zunino

John Buck

INFIELDERS:

1B Justin Smoak

2B Robinson Cano

SS Brad Miller

3B Kyle Seager

UT Willie Bloomquist

INF Nick Franklin

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Dustin Ackley

CF Abraham Almonte

RF Michael Saunders

OF Corey Hart

OF Stefen Romero

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