The Mariners turn Saturday to their hottest pitcher, lefty Ariel Miranda, in a effort push their record above .500 for the first time this season when their weekend series against Toronto continues at Safeco Field.
Miranda is 6-2 with a 3.74 ERA and is unbeaten in five decisions over his last eight starts. He is coming off the best performance of his career — a complete game last Sunday in a 7-1 victory over Tampa Bay.
A late spring replacement in the rotation for injured Drew Smyly, Miranda now looms as a fixture for the foreseeable future.
"He didn’t have that great a spring," manager Scott Servais said. "He wasn’t going to make our team until the injuries. But he stepped up. It’s like he’s got so much at stake, and he’s not letting it go."
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The Mariners enter Saturday at 31-31 after winning 10 of their last 12 games, but they haven’t been above .500 since they finished last season at 86-76.
***Toronto is starting right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-2 with a 3.25 ERA) in Saturday’s game, which begins at 7:10 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.
***Miranda pitched five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays on May 14 in Toronto before the bullpen coughed up a late lead in a 3-2 walk-off loss. Edwin Diaz surrendered a two-out homer to Kevin Pillar in the ninth inning.
***That May 14 start is Miranda’s only previous game against the Blue Jays. It came one day after Stroman made his only career appearance against the Mariners.
***Toronto has won Stroman’s last six starts, which includes a 7-2 victory on May 13 in which he got a no-decision after allowing two runs in six innings. Stroman is 4-0 in that six-game span with a 2.55 ERA.
***Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista was 2-for-3 with a homer on Friday and has reached base safely at least once in 44 of his last 45 games against the Mariners. Three of his 11 homers this season have been against the Mariners.
***The Mariners’ rotation is a combined 9-2 with a 3.42 ERA over the last 12 games. The lone no-decision came Friday when the Mariners rallied for a 4-2 victory in the series opener after Sam Gaviglio allowed two runs in six innings.
***Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson went 2-for-4 on Friday and is batting .351 (14-for-36) in his last 10 games with three homers.
It was 25 years ago Saturday — June 10, 1992 — that the MLB owners approved the sale of the Mariners from Indianapolis broadcast executive Jeff Smulyan to a Seattle-based group backed by Japanese investors, including Nintendo owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners