video thumbnail

KC@SEA: Maurer retires Butler to escape trouble

When Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer toes the rubber on Wednesday, he'll try to bounce back like the man he will pitch against, Rays righty Jake Odorizzi, did on May 9.

Odorizzi will start for the Rays on the heels of Friday night's outing vs. the Indians, when the rookie right-hander made his seventh start of the season and enjoyed dramatically better results than he experienced during his recent struggles.

The rookie allowed no runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 11 in five innings, giving him his best performance since April 4, when he held Toronto scoreless for six innings en route to his first Major League win. Unfortunately on Friday, he came away with a no-decision, but he did gain a boost of confidence.

"The mixing is what I really want to carry over," Odorizzi said. "That was the highlight of the big overall picture from that outing. How we mixed. Stuck to what we wanted to do the whole time. … Now it's time to eliminate some three-ball counts when possible and not make extra pitches when I don't need to. I think that's the biggest part of the next step, cutting out the pitches that don't get you anywhere."

Maurer aims to recover after allowing 14 hits -- all singles -- in a career-high 7 1/3 innings, 6-1 loss to the Royals. He became the first pitcher since Brooklyn's Dick Robertson in 1918 to allow at least 14 hits without an extra-base hit, a walk or a strikeout in one game.

Despite the high hit total -- which fell just one shy of the Mariners' record for most hits allowed in a game by a pitcher -- Maurer felt he threw better than the results indicated as the Royals repeatedly hit bloopers or well-placed grounders.

"It's not like I went out and gave up 10 hard-hit balls and the rest found holes," Maurer said. "Most of them were either bleeders or just hit perfect in the right spot. So I can definitely build off that."

Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits added: "A big improvement. More strikes. More balls down in the zone. … He was kind of snake bit. In the whole game, they got 16 singles and probably 10 of them weren't hit hard. He actually pitched better and got a loss than in the game before when he got a win. That's baseball."

Rays: Woodstock re-do
On Sunday, the Rays traveling party dressed to a "Woodstock" theme for the flight to Seattle, and they'll do the same for the Seattle to Los Angeles flight after Wednesday afternoon's game. This is the 30th themed road trip since manager Joe Maddon hatched the idea in 2008. It's the second themed trip this season -- the "Hat Trip 2.0" was held for the team's trip to Chicago on April 24.

Mariners: McClendon likes Ackley lower in order
While left fielder Dustin Ackley was tried in the leadoff role and top three spots in the order for much of his first few years in the Majors, first-year skipper Lloyd McClendon has placed the 2009 first-round Draft pick hitting seventh or eighth in 27 of his first 30 starts this year. McClendon likes Ackley's potential as a producer lower in the order.

"I've never viewed him as a one or two type of guy," McClendon said. "I just never did. Looking at this club from the other side, I always thought he was a guy that had some pop in the bat and could drive in some runs. So I never viewed him as a top of the order type of guy. That's not to say my view is right or wrong, that's just what I saw and what I believe."

Worth noting
• Mariners outfielder James Jones owns a five-game hitting streak after hitting a first-inning double on Tuesday. He has scored a run in three consecutive games.

• Rays outfielder David DeJesus extended his current hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning double on Tuesday night. Comments