Rangers-Mariners Preview

A rough start has hardly shattered the collective belief of the Seattle Mariners.

They'll look to build on a much-needed victory Sunday against the visiting Texas Rangers.

Mired in a four-game losing streak, Seattle (4-7) turned to ace Felix Hernandez on Saturday and he delivered by allowing one run, two hits and striking out 12 in seven innings of a 3-1 victory. Mike Zunino homered and four Mariners had two of the club's season-high 11 hits.

"One thing I expressed to them is … you've got to continue to grind it out," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "There are going to be good moments, bad moments, tough moments, and moments that want to make your manager cry."

The Mariners' early struggles stemmed from a pitching staff that even after the efforts of Hernandez and two relievers has a 4.50 ERA and allowed 100 hits in 100 innings.

However, Hernandez's dominant performance could be the spark Seattle needs to string together some victories. Having James Paxton (0-1, 5.11 ERA) throwing at home also could help.

The left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 11 career road starts but has enjoyed Safeco Field's spacious dimensions even more while going 5-1 with a 1.85 ERA in eight.

He's maintained that form for the most part this season by allowing a two-run homer in six innings of a 2-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels on April 7, then giving up five runs in 6 1-3 of Monday's 6-5, 10-inning defeat at Dodger Stadium.

Paxton, however, shined both home and away while going 1-1 with an 0.71 ERA against the Rangers (5-7) last season.

The Mariners also hope Zunino's 412-foot home run is a sign of good things to come for the young catcher, who is 5 for 36 with 17 strikeouts in 2015. It was the first homer this season for Zunino, who despite batting .199 was second on the team with 22 in 2014.

Teammate Robinson Cano, meanwhile, is 8 for 21 in the last five games after going 3 for 25 in the first six.

The Mariners could be in for another big offensive performance facing Texas' Ross Detwiler (0-2, 9.00) for the first time.

After pitching out of the bullpen with Washington last season, the left-hander has allowed 13 runs, 18 hits, walked six and struck out five in 10 innings in his return to the starting rotation this season. He gave up a pair of two-run homers and five total runs in 5 2-3 innings during Monday's 6-3 loss to the Angels.

''Again. All day, falling behind. Never getting the hitters defensive,'' said Detwiler, whose first two opponents hit .383 against him. "You get it up, it gets hit pretty hard. Get it down, and you get ground balls.

Seattle's Rickie Weeks has yet to see action in this series but could be in the lineup considering he's 3 for 8 with a home run and a double against Detwiler.

Prince Fielder's two hits in three at-bats versus Paxton were doubles. Fielder's season average dropped to .383 after he went 0 for 4 on Saturday.

It's uncertain if Texas' Mitch Moreland will miss a third straight contest with elbow soreness. He's batting .368 with two home runs and six RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak at Safeco.

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