Cardinals-Mariners preview

SEATTLE -- The St. Louis Cardinals will face an American League West team for the final time in eight weeks on Sunday and the break can't come soon enough for their fans.

Saturday night's loss to the Seattle Mariners left St. Louis with a 3-7 record against AL West teams this season. The Cardinals have now lost seven in a row against teams from the division.

While another AL team awaits in the intrastate rival Kansas City Royals, the Cardinals have to be somewhat relieved they're not playing a team from out West.

The Cardinals (38-35) have now lost their past three series against AL West teams, having been swept by Houston and Texas earlier in the month before dropping the first two games of the Seattle series. St. Louis will try to salvage a win Sunday when the Cardinals close out the three-game series at Safeco Field.

Jaime Garcia (5-6, 3.83 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound in a stadium in which he has never pitched.

The Cardinals are hoping that Garcia fares better than Saturday starter Mike Leake, who couldn't get out of the fourth inning. Garcia gave up nine hits, all singles, in 3 1/3 innings as St. Louis fell behind 5-0 before losing 5-4.

"It wasn't a good day of pitching," Leake said afterward.

He was speaking exclusively of his own performance. The St. Louis bullpen -- specifically left-hander Tyler Lyons -- was outstanding in 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Lyons allowed just one hit as the Cardinals chipped away at the lead, pulling within a run on Aledmys Diaz's three-run homer in the fifth.

"Tyler was great," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, who will have a rested bullpen and could be debuting a new closer after removing that job title from Trevor Rosenthal.

The Seattle bullpen also turned in an impressive outing, working four scoreless innings to make sure the 5-4 lead held up. Cishek gave up a one-out double in the ninth but wiggled out of it to post his 17th save of the season.

"It was nice to see Shrek (Cishek) get over the hump here at home," Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

Left-hander James Paxton (1-3, 3.34 ERA) will start for the Mariners on Sunday, which could mean a day of rest for the Seattle bullpen heading into Monday's off day. Paxton has turned out to be an innings-eater on a starting staff that has struggled to get past the fifth. Paxton pitched into the eighth inning his last time out, but he tired from there.

While the Cardinals have had trouble solving the AL West, the Mariners are staying in the division race in large part because of their interleague success. Saturday night's win gave Seattle (37-37) an 8-1 record in interleague games this season.

After an off day Monday, the Mariners get back into interleague play with a two-game series against Pittsburgh. Seattle and the Cardinals won't see each other again after Sunday.

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