The Seattle Mariners have gone through quite a few up-and-down stretches this season, but their recent trend has been quite simple: If they score, they win.
After doing just that in their series opener with the San Francisco Giants, the Mariners will again look to keep the offense rolling Tuesday behind J.A. Happ, who has been on the wrong side of Seattle's fluctuating results.
The Mariners (29-35) have failed to score in all three of their losses over the last seven games. After suffering their latest shutout Sunday against Houston, Austin Jackson had two RBIs and Kyle Seager hit his 11th home run to help Seattle beat the Giants 5-1 in Monday's opener of this four-game home-and-home series.
For manager Lloyd McClendon, it was the insurance runs he found most valuable.
"We have to have the ability to add on," McClendon said. "That's what keeps teams at bay. When we have a lead and add on, it quiets their spirit a little bit."
Happ (3-2, 3.72 ERA) has not enjoyed the same offensive production, receiving not a single run of support in his previous two starts.
Happ, however, failed to uphold his end as well with four runs allowed in 2 1-3 innings of Thursday's 6-0 loss to Cleveland. The left-hander had managed only five outings of fewer than three innings through 147 career starts, but now has two in his last five - both of which have come on the road.
"It's certainly frustrating," he told MLB's official website. "I felt like I threw a lot of strikes the first hitters of the game. But you have to make adjustments."
He suffered through a similarly dismal performance in his last start at AT&T Park on June 13, 2012, allowing eight runs in 3 1-3 innings while with Houston. A good outing wouldn't have helped, though, with the Giants' Matt Cain tossing a perfect game that day.
San Francisco (34-31), which has now lost five straight, will go with Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.33), who has drastically slowed from the 2.08 ERA he earned through eight starts. He has a 6.30 mark in his last four while pitching past the fifth only once in that span.
Lincecum fell victim to inefficiency in Thursday's loss to the New York Mets, exiting after allowing three runs - two earned - in 4 2-3 innings while throwing 102 pitches. He ranks among baseball's worst with 4.83 walks per nine innings since May 14.
"I'm just not finishing guys off when I'm supposed to," Lincecum said. "It just comes back to challenging the bottom of the strike zone more and making them hit the ball more, which is what I was doing in my first eight starts.
"I just haven't been executing the last few games."
The right-hander has a 1.98 ERA at AT&T Park, and although he allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings May 30, Lincecum had previously worked 21 consecutive scoreless innings at home over three starts.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner is just 3-7 in interleague play since 2012, but he dazzled against the Los Angeles Angels with eight shutout innings May 3. He suffered a loss in his only meeting with Seattle, but has yet to face the Mariners in San Francisco.