Two of the hottest teams in baseball are set to meet in an interleague series starting Tuesday.
Who would've guessed it would be between the Seattle Mariners and the host San Francisco Giants?
Three weeks ago, on Aug. 17, the Mariners were 7-17, a half-game ahead of Boston for the worst record in the American League. The Giants were 8-16, a game above Pittsburgh, which was in the National League cellar.
Times have changed.
The Mariners have the longest current winning streak in the majors at six games and have won 11 of 14 to improve to 19-22, just two games back of second-place Houston in the AL West as well as two games behind the New York Yankees for the final AL wild-card playoff berth with 19 games remaining.
"We're just worried about getting better every day," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of his young and rebuilding club. "You've got to get to .500 first, and we're not there yet. We're just learning about ourselves every day out there. We're going on the road and playing two teams we know very little about (the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks). This will be a real challenging trip, and we're looking forward to it. But this group isn't afraid of anything."
The Mariners wrapped up a four-game sweep of the visiting Texas Rangers on Monday with an 8-4 win. Dylan Moore homered and drove in four runs, and Marco Gonzales allowed just two runs on four hits in seven innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts.
"You're seeing a burst of confidence from a large majority of this team that is finally feeling comfortable and feeling like they have a good routine down in the big leagues," Gonzales said. "We're going out and searching for wins. We're a very united group and have been since Day 1. I'm excited to see what this last stretch holds for us, because we are playing great baseball right now."
The Giants (21-21) have used a 13-5 run to climb back to .500 for the first time since they were 5-5 on Aug. 2.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman, who struck out nine in six innings of one-run ball Monday in a 4-2 victory against Arizona, had his bags packed at the trade deadline but ended up staying with the Giants.
"That was the unfortunate thing," Gausman said. "I had to kind of unpack my stuff, but that's OK. I was definitely happy to be back here. ... More than anything, I just feel confident in our team."
Darin Ruf, who entered the game Monday in the fourth inning after Alex Dickerson left with a knee injury, hit a two-run single to key a fourth-run sixth inning.
"It's gratifying," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "It certainly speaks to the fight that this club has. We can go back a couple of weeks and find some pretty heartbreaking losses. These guys are resilient. They bounce back from those losses, they bounce back from in-game deficits. I think the character of this team is continuing to shine through."
Rookie right-hander Ljay Newsome (0-0, 2.57 ERA) is scheduled to make his second major league start for the Mariners in place of Taijuan Walker, who was traded to Toronto before the deadline. Newsome has yet to face San Francisco.
The Giants are set to counter with right-hander Logan Webb (2-3, 4.71 ERA), who will face the Mariners for the first time. Webb is coming off consecutive rough outings in which he allowed a total of nine runs in nine innings.
--Field Level Media
Resurgent clubs square off as Mariners visit Giants
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