Salvage operations from a disastrous weekend begin Monday when the Mariners open a three-game series against another contender in the American League wild-card race.
The Baltimore Orioles are in town for the Mariners’ final home series in August. The Mariners, after an open date on Thursday, embark on a season-long trip that covers 12 games in four cities.
First, though, they need to cleanse the sour taste left from four weekend losses to the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. The sweep dropped the Mariners to 59-60 and left them two games behind the Angels in the race for the final wild-card spot.
"We have to get get it back to going in the right direction in all facets of the game," manager Scott Servais said. "We struggled pitching-wise at times. We didn’t run the bases real well. The offense didn’t really get clicking. It happens.
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"We’ve got a lot of baseball left to play, and we will get it going in the right direction."
The Orioles arrive at 58-60, which puts them 2 1/2 games behind the Angels and one-half game behind the Mariners. They are concluding a West Coast trip that saw them go 3-4 in previous stops in Los Angeles and Oakland.
The series will be a reunion of sorts.
Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-7 with a 5.38 ERA) will start tonight for the Mariners, who acquired him from the Orioles in a Jan. 6 trade for outfielder Seth Smith (who is batting .270 with 11 homers and 26 RBIs in 83 games).
On Tuesday, Baltimore is starting lefty Wade Miley (6-9, 5.19), whom it got from the Mariners in a July 31, 2016 trade for lefty Ariel Miranda. The Orioles won’t see Miranda, who started Sunday against the Angels.
The Mariners have yet to announce a starting pitcher for Tuesday to fill the spot vacated when lefty James Paxton suffered a strained left pectoral muscle in his last outing. Paxton is expected to miss at least three weeks.
The series also marks a return to Safeco for Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo, whom the Mariners traded (in a deal they’d prefer to forget) after the 2015 season. He led the majors last season with 47 homers.
Trumbo is 5-for-18 with one homer in five games since returning from a 10-day stay on the disabled list because of a mild strain to his right rib cage. He is batting .240 overall with 18 homers and 51 RBIs in 108 games.
***Gallardo is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA (10 runs in 20 innings) over four starts since returning to the rotation after a month-long demotion to the bullpen. He was 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA in 23 starts last season for Baltimore.
***The Orioles are starting right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-8, 5.21) in the series opener, which begins at 7:10 p.m. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft — one pick after the Mariners selected catcher Mike Zunino.
***Nelson Cruz resurrected his career in 2013 at Baltimore after a drug-related suspension the previous year. He led the league with 40 homers and had a career-high 108 RBIs. He then signed a four-year deal with the Mariners as a free agent.
***Cruz currently leads the league with 94 RBIs and has eight homers in his last 13 games. Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop ranks second among AL players in RBIs with 85.
***The Orioles and Mariners rank seventh and eighth in the league in scoring at 4.72 and 4.70 runs per game. The AL average is 4.69.
***The Mariners and Orioles rank ninth and 14 among the 15 AL clubs in ERA at 4.46 and 4.91. The league average is 4.36.
***Gausman is 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners. All three of his previous starts came at Safeco Field.
***Smith is 3-for-26 in his career against Gallardo, but Trumbo is 5-for-9. Gallardo has not allowed a homer to any current Oriole in a combined 93 career at-bats.
***Robinson Cano is 5-for-12 in his career against Gausman, while Kyle Seager is 3-for-9. No other current Mariner has more than four at-bats against him.
***Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (another trade the Mariners would like to forget) has only pedestrian numbers against his former club: a .263/.295/.394 slash (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in 68 career games.
It was 26 years ago Monday — Aug. 14, 1991 — that Randy Johnson came within three outs of a second career no-hitter before giving up a single to Mike Gallego in a 4-0 victory over Oakland at the Kingdome.
Johnson also issued two walks in the ninth inning (including one to current Mariners coach Scott Brosius) before closing out his one-hitter by striking out Willie Wilson and Jose Canseco.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners